A CUPAR woman is on the road to recovery after a charity cycle ride on the other side of the world turned into a nightmare trip that almost claimed her life.
Julie Jardine lay in a coma in Vietnam for over a week after taking ill just a few days into a 10-day ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
She and her husband Grant had embarked on the gruelling 550km challenge to raise funds for the charity Enable, which helps children and adults with learning difficulties.
The couple, both experienced cyclists, had trained extensively for the trip, which involved being in the saddle for up to eight hours a day in temperatures approaching 40C.
But after just 150km, disaster struck when 53-year-old Julie started complaining of headaches.
“It was extremely hot and humid and I assumed she was dehydrated,” said Grant (56).
“She drank two litres of water quite quickly but then was sick and went for a lie down.
“I went out for a walk and when I returned about half an hour later I found her comatose on the bed.
“She was taken by ambulance to Can Tho City Hospital, where she was found to have the hydration disorder hyponatremia, or extremely low sodium levels in her bloodstream.
“She spent two days in intensive care in Hoan My Cuu Long General Hospital before her condition worsened and I had to make a decision about whether to transfer her to Ho Chi Mhin City private hospital two-and-a-half hours away.
“At this point, it was touch and go whether she would survive so I asked the doctor through a translator what he would do in my position.
“He said he would transfer her, so we set off on the long ambulance journey to the hospital, where the care was superb.
“After a week or so, she was stable enough to be flown home.”
Now Julie, a postie, could be off work for as long as three months while she recovers from her ordeal at home in Meadowside Road.
Grant, a grain buyer, first started supporting Enable when he took on his first cycle challenge through the Grand Canyon nearly five years ago and since then the couple have raised some £30,000 for the charity.
Two years ago, they raised over £7000 by cycling across the Andes from Argentina to Chile.
For the latest challenge they had set a target of £7500, of which around £6800 has already been realised.
Grant plans to return to south east Asia next February to complete the cycle ride, but well-wishers can still donate via www.just giving/james-jardine.com