Coinciding with World AIDS Day, a dear friend of the EJAF is embarking on an extraordinary challenge.
Johnny Bergius, a Trustee of the foundation, is so fiercely dedicated to the fight against HIV and AIDS that he is planning to take part in a great challenge to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America, to raise money for the cause.
Its the worlds highest mountain outside of the Himalayas standing at nearly 7000m (22,831 feet). This is a brutal and gruelling four-week endeavour. He has been training for months, and the conditions he will encounter on the way to the summit will test his physical and mental endurance to the absolute extreme.
This isn’t the first time Johnny has made an attempt.
Several years ago, he went on an expedition partly sponsored by HELLO! to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the foundation, accompanied by David Furnish and Janet Street-Porter.
The idea came about when David went on a trip to Africa with Johnny.
We looked out of the plane, saw Mount Kilimanjaro and thought how amazing it would be to climb up to the top. Not only as its so beautiful, but to do some fundraising too,” recalled David.
Also set to mark December 1, World AIDS Day, Mount Kilimanjaro presented difficulties.
At 5,892 metres, it is Africas highest peak.
So David, Janet and Johnny trained hard.
Weve spent hours in a Hypoxic Training Room that simulates a mountain atmosphere, to build up our cardiovascular strength at a reduced oxygen level, said David.
He admitted to being somewhat nervous about being exposed to the elements, but appreciated the support he has received. Not only did they receive nearly £100,000 in pledges before even starting out, but Elton kept in touch daily via satellite phone.