Business Standard

British Indian family plans 'Tuk Tuk to Turkey' ride for charity


Press Trust of India London
An Indian-origin family are preparing to set off on a "Tuk Tuk to Turkey" charity tour from London to Istanbul to raise funds and awareness in memory of a family member's sudden epilepsy death over five years ago.
Bharat Sumaria will be joined by wife Rachel and daughter Amy and her boyfriend, James, when he sets off in an Indian autorickshaw next month in memory of his younger daughter, Emily, who succumbed to the lesser-known condition called the Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) in December 2012.
"Tuk Tuk To Turkey is our family's way of taking the tragedy of Emily's death and turning it into something positive," the family said on their fundraising page for the initiative.
"Over the past five years we have seen incredible fundraising efforts from her wonderful friends and Leeds university hockey team. They've totally inspired and motivated us to do something so far out of our collective comfort zone, and it's going to be a massive challenge," they said.
"Why a tuk tuk? We're taking it back to Emily's Indian heritage and we're going to call it after her nickname, Sumo," Rachel said.
Emily, a geography student at Leeds University, was found dead by her housemates in her college accommodation. The family was preparing for a holiday to Cuba when it received the shocking news.
The family recalls: "It truly was so sudden and so unexpected. Whilst Emily had epilepsy she was on medication and you could count on one hand the number of seizures she'd had.
"Her epilepsy was fully controlled and it was four months before we knew from the coroner that Emily had died from SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. We had never heard of it and never been warned that it was a risk we are determined to change that."

The group of four will set off in the next few weeks from London, and travel though the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro among 21 countries and arrive in Istanbul, Turkey, six weeks later.
Bharat, 58, is finalising the journey route and considering a mechanics course as the family decorate their autorickshaw, referred to as 'tuk tuk' in the UK, with tinsel.
They have already raised over GBP 88,000 of their GBP 100,000 target to help SUDEP Action, a small UK-based charity which is hoping to raise GBP 1 million over four years.
"Why 21 countries? 21 people die from epilepsy every week in the UK and we are supporting the charity SUDEP Action's Prevent21 campaign," Rachel said.
The family is currently driving their pink autorickshaw around London to hone their skills at riding it for their 6,000-km journey.

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First Published: Aug 31 2018 | 7:35 PM IST

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