'Beautiful soul': Legacy lives through mate's Everest climb
IT WAS the trek he never got to climb, but Ricky Miller's mate is on a mission to prove even the tallest mountains can be conquered.
Sunshine Coast man Chris Stockwell has just completed the trip-of-a-lifetime in honour of his friend, scattering some of Ricky's ashes at the Everest base camp at Nepal.
"He'd always wanted to go see Mt Everest, it was on his bucket list," Mr Stockwell said.
But in January 2018, Ricky took his own life.
"It was in that moment that I sort of realised ... I'm going to fulfil his dream," Mr Stockwell said.
On what would have been Ricky's 46th birthday, Mr Stockwell left for Nepal, hoping to keep his friend's legacy alive.
"With him never leaving Australia, I figured that was quite a nice birthday present for him," he said.
Mr Stockwell raised more than $2600 for Beyond Blue in the hope of spreading awareness about men's mental health.
"If you're suffering from those things, then it's OK. If you want to talk to people, then talk to people," he said.
"Not everyone is able to climb a mountain, but if you can do that within your own brain then you're already halfway there.
"I'm lucky enough to be able to go and climb those mountains, but for those people that can't, that was why I wanted to do it. To show people that you can do it and support them in that way."
Mr Stockwell said Ricky's death had a lasting impact on everyone who knew him.
"He would always be there to help you in any way he could. He had such a beautiful soul," he said.
"With me doing these sort of charity things now ... a lot of it has come from the experiences that Rick had and the wisdom that he would talk to me about.
"He was such a genuine, caring, loving guy and everyone loved him."
Mr Stockwell said there was plenty of support available for people struggling with mental health, but a "macho man" attitude prevented some men from seeking help.
"It completely does not show any sort of weakness saying that you want to speak to someone. It actually shows strength more than anything," he said.
"It's OK to want to speak to people."
Mr Stockwell is also raising money for Oxfam by taking part in a 100km continuous hike in Brisbane this month.
To donate, visit trailwalker.oxfam.org.au/my/team/35056.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and beyondblue.org.au.