Brian Jones’ New Year’s Eve will be one for the books. On Dec. 31, he will head south — but he’s not heading for a warmer climate.
The Fredericton man will brave the brutal cold and ski across Antarctica to raise money for mental illness initiatives.
“I’ll never be more isolated then I am there,” Jones, a local investment advisor, told Global News.
He said he was motivated to do the 150-kilometre trip after the shootings in Moncton and Fredericton and the problem of child suicide.
The funds Jones raises will benefit the Chalmers Foundation, which helps purchase medical equipment and community health-care services in Fredericton.
“There’s a lot of people on the ground working day in and day out every day every week in addictions and mental health in greater Fredericton and it’s to bring awareness to all the work they do with our first responders and the hospital to help people get better,” said Gilles Allain, the executive director of the Chalmers Foundation.
The foundation will use the money to install emergency room isolation pods at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.
“There is some problems when people go to the emergency ward that have mental illness, and they are quite disruptive and potentially dangerous, so they just need a place that’s safe for them and safe for the staff,” said Jones.
He said his trip will echo the isolation of suffering from mental health issues.
“A lot of people that are on these little islands themselves mentally even though they are surrounded by people, they are pretty much isolated in their heads. It’s kind of like trying to walk a mile in their shoes,” he said.
This isn’t Jones’ first foray into fundraising. He said since 2006 he has raised over $1 million for charities in the provincial capital.
In 2018, Jones and his friend Steven Burns raised $132,000 for the Liberty Lane outreach centre.
“In 2008 he did the North Pole, he did the Sahara desert, and every time he’s done one of these adventures he picks a charity and wants to make a difference in the community where he lives,” said Allain.
After Jones skis across Antarctica for two weeks, he will climb Mount Vinson, the highest peak on the continent.