5 YEARS AGO Rachel, Bharat and their eldest daughter, Amy, had their lives forever altered in an instant. At 10:36pm one December night, Amy and Emily (their youngest daughter/sister) were joking about their failed fad diets before heading off to Cuba for a family holiday. By 10:36am the next day Emily had been found dead in her bed at university.
It truly was so sudden and so unexpected - and Amy had to deal with the immediate aftermath of Emily's death all on her own, as Rachel & Bharat were mid-flight on the other side of the world. As soon as they landed Amy had to tell them over the phone that Emily had died and it was a very, very long journey home.
Whilst Emily had epilepsy she was on medication and you could count on one hand the number of seizures she'd had. Her epilepsy was fully controlled and it was 4 months before we knew from the coroner that Emily had died from SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. We had never heard of it and never been warned that it was a risk - we are determined to change that.
TUKTUK TO TURKEY is our family's way of taking the tragedy of Emily's death and turning it into something positive. Over the past 5 years we have seen incredible fundraising efforts from her wonderful friends and Leeds university hockey team. They've totally inspired and motivated us to do something so far out of our collective comfort zone, and it’s going to be a massive challenge! There is a huge amount to do - from route planning, to persuading Bharat there is a genuine need for him to go on a mechanics course, to deciding what colour tinsel we need to decorate our trusty Indian TukTuk with. Rachel is not a natural happy camper and so we will need to manage her expectations! Not to mention poor James who will be spending 6 weeks in a tuktuk with his girlfriend's parents!
We're going to leave in September and start our journey though the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany... Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro etc. until we end up, 21 countries (and 6 weeks) later in Istanbul.
We're doing this in aid of SUDEP Action’s #Prevent21 campaign. 21 people a week die from epilepsy and many of those deaths are avoidable. The charity hopes to raise £1 million over 4 years and both our family and James’ want to raise awareness of SUDEP and raise funds to help save young lives in the future - no family should have to go through what we have and together we really can make a difference.
SUDEP ACTION is a small charity and punches way above its weight; working tirelessly to support funding into scientific research, lobbying government and clinicians, raising awareness of SUDEP and supporting bereaved families. Amy for one found the free counselling offered an incredible source of support.
SUDEP can strike at any time and it can shatter lives overnight. People like Emily, who live with epilepsy, are rarely warned of this risk by their doctors even though SUDEP can be preventable. Their families, like ours, have often not heard of it until the coroner's report. But this doesn't need to happen. With your money SUDEP Action will be able to raise awareness, fund ground breaking research into devices that will help save people’s lives, and continue to provide the invaluable support and community that bereaved families desperately need.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
*DONATE!* Anything you can donate, big or small, would be an incredible help and would really encourage us to get through all the challenges ahead of our final destination.
*SIGN UP TO THE BLOG* Subscribe to our blog to get our updates on www.tuktuktoturkey.com
*FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA* Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter - @tuktuktoturkey
*JOIN US!* If you'd like to join us for a couple of days then please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We'd love some company along the route.
For more information on SUDEP and the incredible work done by SUDEP Action please click through to their website here - www.sudep.org
Much to Bharat's dismay we're all over SOCIAL MEDIA. Please follow our journey and SHARE SHARE SHARE on:
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