A TEENAGER is set to courageously take on the Everest Base Camp trek in memory of his father, who tragically took his own life three years ago.

Ioan Rhun Jones, 17, from Llanfairpwll on Anglesey will be trekking to Everest Base Camp on March 31, 2024. He has already hit his fundraising target of £2,260 towards mental health charity, Shout.

The teenager was only 14-years-old when he and his brother Llion lost their father and struggled to talk about his feelings during that devastating time.

He said: “When I lost my dad it had huge effect on me and I struggled to talk about it, it was during the start of the Covid pandemic which made it so much worse.

“Charities such as Shout are incredible, it is the UK’s only free, confidential and 24/7 text messaging service for anyone struggling to cope with mental health. Through my challenge I want to raise awareness of this charity but also encourage younger people to seek support if they are struggling with their mental health.”

North Wales Chronicle: Ioan Rhun Jones with his mum Kelly JonesIoan Rhun Jones with his mum Kelly Jones (Image: BCUHB)
To prepare for the trek, which will take around two weeks to complete and involves reaching an altitude of 5,500m above sea level, Ioan has been taking part in a number of tough challenges. These include the Tour De Môn 100 mile cycle, The Snowdon Six Challenge and completing ultra-marathons.

He is also set to take on the Manchester Ultra Loop 8 hours of running, the Pen Llŷn Ultra and The Dartmoor Way 100k Circular.

Ioan added: “I absolutely love sports and exercising and it’s so important for your mental health, it makes a huge difference.


“This is also something I want to promote through this challenge, we live in a fantastic area and I would like to encourage more people to get outdoors which will really benefit their mental health.

“I’m really looking forward to taking on the Everest Base Camp trek, it is going to be something very different to anything I have done before.

“I’m really grateful to everyone who has donated towards the cause so far, I’ve had great support and I appreciate all the donations which has helped me already reach my target.”

Ioan’s mum, Kelly Jones, Matron of Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Children’s Ward said she was incredibly proud of her son for how he’s turned a tragic situation into a positive.

She said: “Ioan is an incredible son and he’s such an inspiration – I couldn’t be more proud of him.

“He has focused his energy on something positive and wants to raise awareness around mental health within younger people, which is amazing.

“I’m obviously anxious as a mother when I think of him travelling solo to take on the challenge but I know he will be amazing and I have no doubt he will complete the trek.

“We’ve had a great support from family, school and obviously his friends who are supporting him along the way.”

Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi, Medical Director for Mental Health and Learning Disability for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) says he fully supports Ioan’s initiative and emphasises how important it is to open up at an early stage of any mental health struggle.

He said: “Early interventions can make a huge difference to people and there are currently many statutory and non-statutory places and services that can be contacted if someone is experiencing mental health difficulties. I would encourage anyone who is currently struggling with their mental health to reach out – it is really important to open up and talk about any struggles you are going through, there is always support available.”

BCUHB's mental health and wellbeing hub contains information and resources to help people access support they may need.