Lois James is completing a 4-day trek up Machu Picchu in Peru in memory of her dad, who died aged just 35, and to raise much needed funds for her uncle’s mobility chair. Here’s her story… 

In 2015, just weeks after my dad died, his brother, my uncle Sean, fell critically ill with an unknown illness. As a paralysis crept over his body and he struggled to breathe, he was placed in a coma for weeks whilst doctors performed test after test. After 2 years of being misdiagnosed with various illnesses including MS and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and undergoing numerous operations including two lots of brain surgery, he has unfortunately lost all mobility. His spinal and core muscles will never work again as the cause was never found in time. He was told by doctors to accept who he is; that there was no hope for him and that he would never walk again.

Sean was just 32, a young, fit, fun-loving man, and father of 2 children who loved going to the gym and spending time with his family. 7 years on, things have been pretty horrific, but at least he’s still here to watch his children grow up.

sean and family

He’s unable to sit or walk by himself and is completely paralysed, needing round the clock care. The only way Sean can have any independence is with the use of a specialised chair at the cost of £27,000. This isn’t funded by the NHS, so family clubbed together to buy this for him. The chair gives Sean the much-needed ability to stand and get around by himself, allowing him the dignity of doing something independently.

But after 5 years the chair needs repairs, and unfortunately with no help from the NHS or any savings left, we have been unable to fix the problem, which is why I have decided to start this fundraiser. I will be travelling to Peru alone for a month, and whilst there, I will complete a 4-day trek up Machu Picchu (the trek is 26 miles and with an elevation nearing 13,828 feet). I’m 20-years-old and a journalism student at the University of Salford. I’ve been saving up for this trip for a long time, but if I’m honest I’ve felt more nervous setting up the GoFundMe than for the trip itself…here goes, wish me luck!