Chris and the End to End Larapinta Sepsis Challenge!

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On 18 May, Chris and a small team of friends are heading to the NT to trek the entire length of the Larapinta Trail, a remarkable 223km desert challenge to raise funds and awareness for the prevention of Sepsis in Australia.

Chris, as someone who has been touched by Sepsis, your contributions will make a difference for a cause that’s very close to our hearts. Please support Chris and the teams efforts by making a secure online donation and by posting a message of support.

Donations can be securely made through Go Fundraise and will be remitted directly through to Sepsis Australia. Thanks so much for your support!

Following is the story of Chris’s encounter with Sepsis.

Despite the onset of COVID, during 2021 I decided with my brother and two mates to trek to Everest Base Camp, in October 2022. We commenced preparations, researching what would be involved, selecting a trekking company, buying necessary clothing and equipment, and of course, training.

Most of our training was urban walking, bush walking and some time in the gym. By early in 2022 we were getting fit and we felt that the trek was definitely on. In March we trained in the Snowy Mountains with some hard hikes.

Things were going well, but then disaster struck. I had returned to Sydney with a small, infected insect bite on my right instep. A couple of days later, on the Thursday my left shoulder started to pain, I thought I’d torn a rotater cuff, again! Otherwise, I felt generally unwell, so I cancelled my Friday Pilates and Saturday golf. It would be months before these activities would be doable again.

By Sunday my right hip was following the pattern of the left shoulder. Kathy, my wife, drove me to Royal North Shore Hospital late Sunday afternoon by which time I was in agony and couldn’t walk unaided. The ED’s wheelchair was my saviour, and it became my refuge for the following hours, movement was so painful I couldn’t be extracted from it. My demands to be put into a coma were refused, the morphine was doubled instead. This was so I could report on the source and intensity of the pain. Symptoms were confusing, no fever, and pain moving between joints. By midnight I was admitted to hospital, which would be home for the next three weeks.

The doctors and nurses at RNS were fantastic dealing with my issues. Diagnosing my strange set of symptoms and treating my various ailments. Golden staph, septic arthritis, acute kidney failure, delirium, surgery to wash away the infection from various joints, getting me walking again, and so on. At this stage I doubted that I would make a full recovery, let alone trek to Everest Base Camp. The doctors were more confident!

After discharge from hospital the treatment continued for months with intravenous antibiotics, drains from the surgical wounds, physiotherapy etc. This was mainly administered by APAC, hospital in the home, with many nurse visits to our house and regular testing and follow up at RNS. They were fantastic too.

You can imagine that various plans and commitments had to be managed. Firstly, our younger daughter Jessica was married a few weeks after my hospital discharge. On the north coast of NSW! With a lot of help from APAC, a Tweed hospital visit and self-administration of intravenous antibiotics, the wedding went off beautifully for all.

What about the big trek? It was clear that I wouldn’t be ready by October even though I was recovering. As it turned out it could not go ahead in 2022 at all, because of the COVID country lock downs. Nepal was completely closed.

In the meantime, my recovery slowly progressed, but I was a skinny version of my former self. I had lost 7 or 8kg, but by May the walking stick went back in the corner. The recuperation was under way, starting with some short urban walks. During June I made a tentative return to the golf course after a three-month absence. By July I was confident that I would recover properly and in full. My training regime recommenced with longer and longer walks, and I was back in the Pilates studio.

Our team committed to put our Everest Base Camp trek in the diary for March/April 2023. It’s now history that we all successfully completed that challenge as planned. We were all pleased with ourselves, and I feel it was a great achievement for a 71 year old, given all that had happened.

We’ve decided that we need a new challenge! So in May 2024 we plan to walk the Larapinta Track, end to end. Given my experience with Sepsis and my new awareness of this terrible condition, I have asked my trekking mates, and they have agreed, to use this adventure to raise some funds for Sepsis Australia.

So, we will tackle the Northern Territory desert for greater Sepsis awareness. The team is myself, my brother Richard Raine, my golfing mates Bill Bundey and Malcolm Boyd, Warren and Debbie McDonough (all from the Everest trek), plus Danny and Evelyn Player.