NEWTON Stewart parents Georgie and Andrew Peden are trekking across Galloway and the Sahara Desert in memory of their gorgeous son Lewis.
He was born on July 1 2021 but after just five weeks Georgie noticed he was having difficulty feeding and gaining weight.
After several trips to the doctor, Lewis was referred to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary for an MRI and doctors discovered that several of the key structures of his brain had not formed correctly, including many vital and usually automatic functions such as breathing, heart rate, temperature control, movement, and eye sight. Devastated Georgie and Andrew were warned that Lewis may not live to his first birthday, that he would likely suffer seizures and be at very high risk of repeated respiratory infections.
They took Lewis home and made as many memories as they could with their beloved son in between hospital visits.
Tragically Lewis passed away in November 2022 aged just 17 months.
Now his heartbroken mum and dad have set up the ‘For the Love of Lewis’ fundraiser, to improve both their mental and physical health but also raise £11,000 for the purchase of a cuddle blanket for the DGRI paediatric bereavement team. Georgie said: “A cuddle blanket is a piece of medical equipment used to preserve the body of the baby to give parents the gift of time with their child.
“We also want to raise as much money as possible for Children’s Hospice Across Scotland (CHAS) who were a big help to us and so many other families experiencing the unimaginable.
“Lewis died at home with us and that was always part of our end of life plan for him, but then we went to CHAS and we had five days there where all our families could come and visit and say their goodbyes. And it basically gave us the time to slow things down, to spend as little or as much time as we wanted with Lewis, in a bedroom environment and it moved things along at our own pace, moved the funeral arrangements along at our own pace and stopped Lewis from being immediately taken to the funeral home or a mortuary, which would have been our absolute worst nightmare.”
To reach their goal, the couple intend to complete all 40 walks from the Galloway 40 Coastal & Country book by November, as well as climb to the summit of Ben Nevis at night in August and do the 21 mile Edinburgh Kilt walk in September.
This will all serve as training for the main event: trekking for four days through the Sahara, up and over the massive Chegega Dunes in November.
And it’s all for the love of Lewis as Georgie explained: “A lot of this is about being as busy as we can, because every second of every day was consumed by caring for Lewis.
“But now we got all this free time on our hands. And we feel like we can either sit and dwell and go down the slippery slope, or we can say ‘let’s get busy, let’s get fit, let’s look after our mental health’ and take on all these challenges.
“I’m so passionate about the project and helping families who are suffering the absolute worst time in their lives.
“It’s really not a nice subject and people shy away from talking about it. Lewis was the centre of our world and we want to keep talking about him and we keep his memory alive.
“He had a life-limiting condition and there was nothing that could have been done to prevent his death but we just really strongly feel that all the learning we’ve done and Lewis’ life, it can’t be for nothing, we can try and make something good come from it and keep his memory alive through the fundraising.”
* To donate to For the Love of Lewis visit: www.justgiving.com/page/fortheloveoflewis-1680011878963