John Layfield contemplating the enormity of his quest of climbing the highest mountain in each of the seven continents. <em>*Photo supplied</em>
John Layfield contemplating the enormity of his quest of climbing the highest mountain in each of the seven continents. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MARCH 30: Can you picture a Bermudian flag on the highest peaks of all seven continents?

Can you picture $1 million being raised for The Family Centre as a result?

John Layfield can.

The former pro wrestler, who was the longest reigning WWE champ in history, has a vision to climb the seven summits, which are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.

Mr Layfield is huge Bermuda booster and is currently running the Beyond Rugby programme in the island’s schools.

What started out as a dream to climb Mountain Everest, turned into a quest to climb the seven summits and then into one to raise money for charity.

And all of the money donated will go to The Family Centre — none of it will go to help finance the $250,000 it will take for Mr Layfield to complete his quest.

He said: “Bermuda is my favourite place in the world and I want to do something great for Bermuda. My wife and I came here on our honeymoon and fell in love with the place. We had no connection before we came here — no friends, no family — we just came to Bermuda and loved it.”

His Beyond Rugby programme, which was started this school year, helps underprivileged youth, and is in partnership with the Family Centre.

“The Family Centre provides all the underpinnings of our programme so in funding this, it helps fund our programme but it will help fund a lot of other programmes too.

“What they are doing for kids in Bermuda is fantastic and has a reach for the whole island. I work with Beyond Rugby every day and it has a wonderful reach, but the reach the Family Centre has is much greater than that — this will help Beyond Rugby, the Youth Development Zone and the Family Centre.”

As opposed to some other charity events, Mr Layfield is paying his own way to climb the summits, none of the money donated will go to help him defray his personal costs to do this. So, if $1 million are donated, all $1 million will go to charity.

“It’s important for me to say 100 per cent of the money will go to charity because some people do things like this and use the money to pay for their airfare or for their climb — I’m paying for every bit of that. All the money will go to kids through The Family Centre.”

He added the total cost to him would be around $250,000. Just to get permission to climb Mount Everest costs $63,000.

“Everest is a very expensive mountain to climb. Vinson down in Antarctica is horribly expensive just because it’s hard to get down there. These mountains aren’t put near metropolitan centres so they’re not inexpensive to do.

“I don’t know how much I’ll raise. I’ve thrown out all kinds of numbers. If I could raise more than a $1 million dollars I’d be very happy. I don’t know if I could raise $100. I’d love to raise $1 million or $2 million for the Family Centre here in Bermuda.

He’s likely to generate quite a bit of buzz – and more importantly, money for The Family Centre, by attempting this.

Besides his fame as a WWE former champ, he is also a business analyst for Fox News on the show Cashin’ In, which airs on Saturdays at 12:30pm.

This past week that programme was the most watched show on the Fox News network.

Mr Layfield added: “I have massive amounts of media that want to cover this and the more mountains I do, the more coverage it will get.

“My goal is to plant a Bermudian flag on all seven summits. There have only been 348 people that have climbed the seven summits. No Bermudian has done it.

“It’s going to be a great thing for Bermuda and the kids.”

He said when he is climbing each of the mountains, the youth here will have their own challenge and will be able to track his progress on the summits. “There will be something going along in parallel.”

Mr Layfield said: “Every kid has a mountain — we encourage them to climb them-step-by-step. We work with Bermuda’s kids on a daily basis helping them realize their dreams and potential. We do our best to lead by example.

“I’m a 45-year-old man who has had a broken back, two herniated discs and nine major surgeries but I am no different from anyone else.

“We all have our own problems physical or otherwise. Everybody has got rent to pay and everyone has problems, it’s what you do with adversity that makes you successful.