A man who battled with alcohol problems after a traumatic life experience has now completed one of the hardest challenges in the world for charity.
John Wells (46) braved walking 62km to Mount Everest’s base camp in bitterly cold and freezing conditions on a diet of just rice, noodles and eggs.
It took him seven days to reach his destination and a further three to walk back down. It was all worth it though as he raised more than £3000 for Falkirk’s Mental Health Association (FDAMH) – a charity which has helped him and his girlfriend Kristina Sefleriene (26) through difficult times.
Kristina was meant to do the challenge with him but was injured in training.
As John headed on to the world’s highest peak, in awe of his surroundings, it reminded him of a time when he was at his lowest ebb.
He was involved in a road accident back in 1992 where five of his friends died and he was the only survivor. The harrowing accident led to post traumatic stress and alcohol problems.
John, who is originally from Bonnybridge but now lives in Banknock, reached base camp on November 13, exactly 24 years to the day of the accident.
He said: “I didn’t plan it to be on that day it just happened.
“When I was standing at base camp I felt mixed emotions. It gave me a chance to reflect on friends that who lost their lives but reminded me I’m fortunate that I am still here today.
“I’ve had many problems with alcohol after the accident and suffered post traumatic stress but without FDAMH support I wouldn’t be here.”
John walked slowly for six hours a day to give his body time to adjust to the high altitude. He admitted it was a “massive learning curve” and that each step he took “felt like a heart attack” in the biting cold.
He said: “The lack of sleep was the hardest. It was bitterly cold at night and I stayed in teahouses – some of them had rats and you could hear dogs barking so I never slept very well. But I never thought when I was climbing I wasn’t going to do this.”
John plans to produce a video for FDAMH of his trek and share his experiences of mental health problems with others in a similar position.
To donate to John’s page visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/trekkinghimalayasforfdamh.