Border Woman Takes on Machu Picchu Trail for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland 28 August 2023 Jess Ritter-Holland from Coldstream in the Scottish Borders is undertaking a huge challenge to raise funds for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, inspired by her mum Angela. Earlier this year, Angela, aged 64, also from Coldstream, experienced a severe stroke which has had life-changing consequences for her and her family. Speaking about their experience, 32-year-old Jess said: “My wonderful mum Angela had a severe stroke earlier this year. While she is bravely fighting on in hospital, the effects of this stroke have changed hers and, by extension, my own life forever. My own story is only one of many - in which every day people are ripped from their full, rich lives, to facing the seemingly impossible uphill battle towards recovery. “I spent the first several months post-stroke being her caregiver in hospital and have seen first-hand the brutal, harrowing impact these events have on patients and their families and friends. “My own story is only one of many - in which every day people are ripped from their full, rich lives, to facing the seemingly impossible uphill battle towards recovery.” This month, Jessica and her friend Steph will be trekking the original Inca Trail in Peru all the way to Machu Picchu to raise funds for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland. Jessica chose the trail to honour her mum's love of outdoor adventures and will be bringing a token of her endearing spirit on the trail in the form of Angela’s trusty hiking boots. Choosing CHSS Speaking about why she chose to raise funds for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland, Jess explained: “I spoke to several different charities and after speaking to Steph at CHSS I was so happy to hear how hands-on the support for those struggling is within the Scottish community. “The resources and information available is so helpful in a process that can be so daunting and terrifying when you don't know where to start. But beyond that there are several initiatives around their 'Hospital to Home' services that are a practical way to offer survivors physical and mental health support. I know if mum was able, she'd be right there with me on this trek. “I'd love the money we raise to be able to help families that have gone through similar situations such as mine. Stroke is a brutal, cruel condition that rips people out of their everyday lives from one moment to the next. I'd love the money we raise to be able to help families that have gone through similar situations such as mine. “I miss who my mum was before this stroke every minute of every single day. Supporting families when their worlds have been turned upside down and they don’t know where to turn is the reason I took on this challenge, and is what I will be keeping in mind every step of the way on this trail. Jess and Steph set themselves a fundraising target of £1500, but have already raised an incredible £4494, which when matched by their employer would take the fundraising total to almost £10,000. Stephanie Wilks, Community Fundraising and Events Manager at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland said: “We are blown away by Jess’ efforts to raise money for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland by taking on this epic challenge. Both her and Steph are real fundraising heroes. “The funds they raise enable us to support all those living with chest, heart and stroke conditions across Scotland to live their lives to the full." To donate to Jess and Steph’s fundraiser, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/TheRitterGirls Find out more about fundraising for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.