Stuart takes on Machu Picchu – four years on from open heart surgery

16 Sep 2016

Update - 05/10/2016: Stuart's made it to Machu Picchu! And has raised an incredible £4,600 so far.

“If I ever get out of here alive, I’m doing that…” was Stuart’s thought as he lay in a hospital bed at The London Chest Hospital four years ago.

Stuart in hospital Stuart in hospital giving the thumbs-up

He was admitted with endocarditis, a rare and potentially fatal infection of the inner lining of the heart.

This month he’s setting off on a trek to the ancient wonder of the world, Machu Picchu – and he’s raised a whopping £3,500 so far.

Stuart needed lifesaving open heart surgery to have a new mechanical valve fitted after the endocarditis had infected one of his mitral valves.

During his recovery, he spotted a Barts Charity poster about the Machu Picchu trek, and set his sights on doing just that as a way of saying thank you.

Below, Stuart tells more of his story.

You can support him on his mission on his JustGiving page. And don’t forget – if you’re inspired to do something similar, you can! You can also keep up with Stuart's progress on his blog.

“In May 2012 I was hit out of the blue by a rare heart infection called Infective Endocarditis, which attached itself to my heart valve and set about methodically destroying it.

“I eventually got to The London Chest Hospital. I met a cardiothoracic surgeon who explained I was extremely sick and I would die very soon if they didn’t perform open heart surgery the next day to give me a new heart valve.

“From around ten days after my op, I was on an enforced exercise regimen of clutching a drip stand and repeatedly walking the hundred yards up and down the ward. It was on one of these many, many trips that I spotted a poster and said a few words to myself that, four years later, I am eventually going through with.

“Barts Charity raises money for a ton of excellent causes across Barts Health NHS Trust, and they currently have a cardiac appeal, which seems pretty appropriate.

“If it hadn’t been for the excellent care I received from all of the staff at the London Chest Hospital, from the nurses, the caterers, the porters, the radiologists, the anaesthetist, the cardiologists, the Staff Nurse who sat with me for over an hour in HDU when I couldn’t sleep, all the way up to the wizard-like skills of my surgeon, I would not be alive today.

“So, in the same spirit as the reason I rode five miles on my bike to my first post-hospital check-up with my surgeon in July 2012, instead of getting the bus, this is a late continuation of beating endocarditis and at the same time giving something back to the people and the hospital who made that a possibility and a then a reality.”

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