Layfield, 45, has endured a broken back, two herniated discs and nine major surgeries over time but will not let that stand in the way of his goal. His challenge has inspired many to show their support. Among the biggest is WWE.
“The message is we are doing something for the kids, and WWE is my partner in this,” Layfield said. “It is because of them that 100 percent of the money is going to go to the kids. Also, with WWE, they are helping me with the social media aspect. I’ve got a phone here that they’ve loaded up with all the crazy software where I can take a video while on the mountain. Meaning if I get any reception at all, it will go back to Stanford headquarters. They will put it on the web. The same will go for pictures and everything else I put on the phone. They are also helping me out tremendously with getting the word out there.
“We have a lot of unique ideas for future mountains, and that came through WWE. I wanted to partner with them on this. The idea is to put a WWE flag [with the Bermuda flag] on the top of all seven summits, the highest peak on each continent, and also raise a lot of money for at-risk kids. They were fully on board with it. To me, they are the most charitable organization in the world. I like the fact that they are helping me in a tremendous way, but also by me carrying the WWE flag, it shows that they are supporting kids programs. This to me was important that they get recognized.”
The philanthropist, who was instrumental in the formation of WWE’s annual Tribute to the Troops event, believes the money raised from the Seven Summits Bermuda Challenge will greatly impact the Beyond Rugby program.
“There is a gang problem in Bermuda,” Layfield said. “It’s in a few areas, so if you are a tourist here in Bermuda, you are perfectly safe. You would never even see this. In certain parts of Bermuda, there is a 50-percent black Bermudian male dropout rate. Once they drop out, they are pretty much lost to society. We’ve got a really good stronghold in a couple of schools in north Hamilton, right between two of the major gangs. We are starting up another program in Somerset, which is a stronghold of the other major gang. So we are using the money to expand our program to many different schools.”
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