The family of an Irishman who died while he attempted to summit the world’s highest mountain for the second time said they will be forever grateful for the support they have received in his memory.
Father of two Kevin Hayes, 56, originally from the village of Newbridge, Co Galway died a month ago on May 24, after he had descended several hundred metres from Mt Everest. He had been climbing with trekking company, 360 Expeditions.
In the aftermath of his death, his daughter Erin has set-up a Gofundme fundraising campaign to help support local charities for young people who want to, “follow their dreams.”
She posted: “We cannot express enough how your thoughts and actions have provided us with comfort during this time which we will be forever grateful for.
“Firstly, Mum, James and I would like to thank you very much for your generous and thoughtful donations that have been received over the last few weeks in memory of my Dad.
“So, in total, you have already helped to raise £28,263 or €31,486 in memory of my Dad.” The fundraising goal was originally £1,000 or €1,100.
Erin added: “We are pleased to provide you with an update on the go fund me page and our work with The Children’s Trust Charity.
“The Children’s Trust Charity will soon be making their first grants from my Dads in memoriam fund to Solidarity Sports and US Charitable Trust to fund their Summer Programmes for disadvantaged children that starts in a couple of weeks’ time.
Solidarity Sports works with more than 100 at-risk children with unstable home environments helping to increase their confidence and ensuring they feel loved and protected. They provide a safe and friendly place where children enjoy sports, outdoor adventures, arts and food activities in a nurturing environment.
The US Charitable Trust supports young people from lower-income households who do not have positive experiences outside of London, or even in their immediate neighbourhoods. Some members are deemed at risk, but all experience considerable stress in their daily lives.
Ms Hynes added: “Following my father's adventure to Everest and subsequent passing Mum, James and I would like to keep his legacy and passions alive through supporting local charities which help young people to develop their skills and encourage them to follow their dreams.
“My Dad was always known as generous in the love and time given to others to support them in their ambitions and individual aspirations and we hope by setting up this page we can continue his legacy.”
The experienced climber, who lived in the UK for several decades, was part of a group from the UK based climbing company, 360 Expeditions, which were attempting to scale the Everest summit from the North Col (Tibetan side) which stands at 8,848 metres high.
He passed away in his tent at the North Col at 7,000m in the early hours of the morning. It is understood that altitude sickness, caused by low levels of oxygen combined with extreme heights, is linked to his death.
Mr Hynes had reached Camp III at 8,300 m but while other climbers were heading higher, he started his descent. He was accompanied by an experienced guide, Dawa Sangee, who himself had summited Everest South twice, Everest North and Makalu twice.
In a statement at the time of Mr Hynes’ death, 360 Expeditions said his family, his wife Bernadette, two children Erin and James, had asked them to highlight how they felt it is important that others in the expedition had fulfilled lifetime dreams to scale the summit.
Mr Hynes was the second Irish man to die on Everest this year. Father-of-one Séamus ‘Shay’ Lawless from Bray, Co Wicklow died following a freak fall just hours after reaching the summit on May 16. His body was not recovered.