Our Team - Jay Funnell

Jay Funnell Born on 25 September 1996, Jayson (Jay) now 15 years old is in Grade 10 at King Edward VII High School in Johannesburg. Jay lives with his parents and two older sisters (Kim and Sarah). Jay admits to struggling to describe himself due to his wide variety of interests. Jay with his quiet but determined disposition enjoys more individual outdoor activities like hiking, mountain climbing, abseiling, body surfing, caving, travelling and seeing new places. He has been fortunate enough to travel to China, England, Australia, Argentina, Mozambique, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Jayson loves playing guitar in his spare time and has a tutor who teaches him a variety of music from blues to heavy metal. At school, Jay plays rugby and has been involved in rowing and athletics (long jump and high jump events). Keeping fit is important to Jay, so these sports help, as does the large amount of training he commits to for his mountain climbing endeavors. His training includes gym weights and cardio, stair climbing, hiking, running and some abseiling. Jay jokingly acknowledges that he doesn’t have a fear of heights!

Ray & Jay Funnell Since joining his dad on the Summit7 quest, Jay has found himself in an incredible journey and bonding experience as they travel to unusual parts of the world together and face the challenges to get to and summit the various mountains. In July 2011 they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (a massive inactive volcano in Tanzania) together, which he found very exciting climbing, particularly when they climbed well above the clouds. Jay also enjoyed seeing the glaciers near the summit. Jay recalls a highlight being playing Frisbee with his dad at the camp at 4800m! Jay loved the excitement of reaching the summit of the highest peak in Africa just before sunrise on 16th July 2011. This was his first summit, which he and his father called Kili-4-Marrow. Jay acknowledges being proud that they managed to raise R30 000.00 for the Sunflower Fund and raised awareness for blood donors. Jay and Ray featured in an article in the August 2011 edition of the SANBS BloodBeat magazine.

In January 2012, Jay set off with his Father to climb Mount Aconcagua, the second highest of the seven summits, located in the Andes mountains in South America and standing at an impressive 6962m. Jay quietly concedes that this was a big challenge as it takes 12 days to climb to the summit and another two days to get down.

Jay and Ray had to set up their own camp in freezing conditions and then melt ice for drinking water and cook their own food. Jay recalls that it was extremely cold with the temperature at minus 16 degrees inside the tent. They had to climb steep ice slopes to get to the summit which was very tiring but Jay stoically kept up with the others in the South African team and was able to reach the summit on 18 January 2012.

Jay Funnell This was Jay's second summit and it whet his appetite for more. Although his dad was unable to reach the summit with me, Jay proudly recalls flying the Sunflower Fund and SANBS banner and his schools’ flag. Jay also placed a photo of Chris Corlett neatly under some rocks at the summit, in order to keep a promise his dad made to Tina Botha, CEO of the Sunflower Fund. This was our way to honour her late son.

On returning home Jay and the family discovered that he was the youngest South African ever to summit Aconcagua. Since their return from South America, Jay has been featured in articles in The Randburg Sun, the Cape Times, the Sunflower Monthly News letter, several times in the KES school newsletters and their website. Jay has also been interviewed on the Radio a couple of times and recently became “kid of the week” on ChaiFM. In February 2012, Jay was awarded a Certificate of Recognition and invitation to be an Ambassadors of Hope for the Sunflower Fund, which he readily and happily accepted.

At the moment Jay is looking forward to June this year when he and his father are booked to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia and to early next year when they intend to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica.

Jays longer term dream is to climb Mount Everest when he is 18 years old.

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