Stroke survivor’s Sahara trek target

Andy Ibbott
Andy Ibbott

A stroke survivor from Great Brington is preparing for his biggest challenge yet – trekking 150 miles through a sub-Saharan mountain range in 50C heat for charity.

Andy Ibbott feared he may never walk again when he suffered a major stroke after surgery to remove a tumour on his neck in 2011.

The 52-year-old was left unable to move his right hand-side and could not speak or feed himself.

Having undertaken an extensive rehabilitation programme with a specialist stroke physio, Andy is preparing to take part in the seven-day Marathon des Sables, labelled ‘the toughest race on Earth’, to raise £25,000 For Scope.

Each of the first three days feature a 25 mile desert trek, while days four and five consist of an overnight 50 mile journey on foot through the mountains.

A full marathon is the highlight of day six while day seven, the last day of the event, features a 17km ‘fun run’.

Andy said: “My family were told I might not survive the next 72 hours once I’d had the stroke but I’m still here six years later and I feel as though I’ve been given a second chance at life - I want to make the most of it.

“It’s going to be a big challenge but I can’t wait to get out there and get started.”

Andy has been left with significant physical, communication and cognitive difficulties but has undergone a specialised stroke rehabilitation programme designed by the team at PhysioFunction, based at Moulton Injury Rehabilitation Centre.

Centre clinical director, Jon Graham, will be joining Andy in the challenge as part of Team Big Tortoise, with Andy’s friend Rob Bayman completing the trio.

They will head out to Africa on Friday, April 7, 48 hours before the race.

To prepare for the event, Andy has walked more than 500 miles around the Northamptonshire countryside in 2017, in addition to the 2,000 he treked in 2016.

Donations to help Team Big Tortoise reach their target can be made at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com