SHEFFIELD graduate Luke Pritchard is stepping out on a challenge with a difference.
The 25-year-old, from Rotherham, is walking 500 miles - alone - from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in Thailand, to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The Sheffield Hallam University sports science graduate, of Webster Crescent, Dropping Well, has raised more than £600 for the charity - and is hoping to raise even more.
He was inspired by his mum Janice, who has lived with multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years.
Currently Luke is near Pak, 125 miles from Chiang Mai.
Dad Kevin said Luke’s spur-of-the-moment decision to do the walk took him completely by surprise.
Kevin said: “He has been in Thailand since December 10, on holiday with friends.
“A couple of days before Mother’s Day he phoned us to say he wanted to do the walk.
“We tried to persuade him not to at first, but he was determined.”
Luke is steadily climbing into the mountains of Thailand and hopes to complete his journey in about a week.
Kevin said: “He has been getting up at 5am every day and walking solidly for six or seven hours in more than 35C heat. His feet are in such a bad state, but he is determined to finish.”
Luke has got used to dealing with setbacks.
As a teenager, he played for Rotherham United’s youth team and reserves, but three cruciate ligament injuries ended his footballing career.
Posting on Facebook from Thailand, he said: “Life isn’t about trying to make it to the end in as pristine condition as possible.
“Wear your imperfections with pride, for they reveal your life.”
And he has not been put off travelling by his challenge. Next year Luke plans to tour Burma, China and India.
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/luke-pritchard or by texting BKCM 75 followed by the amount to 70070.