When a traumatic event upheaves your life, it can be difficult to heal and move forward…especially when you haven’t made peace with those who you feel were to blame for the experience. This was the case for Indiana native Mark Joseph Peredo, who, after being hit by a car in 2015, struggled to forgive the driver for the physical and emotional pain that he caused Peredo in the aftermath. However, after meeting the man who hit him, Peredo saw that he was in even more pain than himself. Mustering the strength to forgive and embrace Hutchins, Peredo decided to embark on an incredible adventure with the man who almost killed him: walking the Camino de Santiago Trail together.
A Harrowing Experience
On what would become one of the worst days of Mark Peredo’s life, everything seemed perfect. Earlier in the day, he landed a dream client for a company he had begun to build from the ground up. He was driving home to celebrate landing the deal with his family, yet he didn’t get the chance. On the freeway Peredo was driving on, another driver lost control of his car, leaped the median, and barrelled into the side of Peredo’s vehicle. When Peredo regained consciousness in the hospital, he was told that he had sustained severe damage to his facial bones and his foot. After several surgeries, Peredo was told that he would likely struggle to walk for at least a year following the incident, causing him to have to abandon his business plans. He felt defeated, depressed, and furious at the man who had taken part of his future away, yet he had no idea how much the other driver was suffering, too. While Peredo was working on healing and forgiveness, Luke Hutchins was losing control of his life more and more each day.
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Deciding To Help Hutchins
Luke Hutchins wasn’t being a reckless driver when he crashed into Peredo’s vehicle. Rather, he had suffered a major seizure that caused him to lose complete control of his car. It was his first seizure, yet, upon arriving at the hospital, he found out that it would not be his last. The veins in his brain had formed two knots, resulting in what is known as a cavernous angioma, leaving doctor’s to diagnose him with a chronic form of epilepsy that could eventually kill Hutchins. He began to experience nearly 10 seizures per week. Hutchin became unable to work, to drive, or support his family in any tangible way, leaving him terrified for the future of himself and his daughters. The heartbroken Hutchins struggled to cope as his life fell apart. All while Peredo had finally begun to heal and make peace with his past.
As Peredo’s foot healed, he resolved to embark on a quest that he knew had helped others heal their minds and souls: hiking along the Camino de Santiago Trail. The 500-mile trail runs from France to Spain, and, after his injuries were manageable in 2016, Peredo flew out to Europe to complete the long hike. Peredo seemed to find what he was looking for on the adventurous undertaking, and, upon returning home, he decided to reach out to the last piece of the forgiveness puzzle: Hutchins. When Peredo sat down with Hutchins and heard his side of the story, he realized that the accident was far from his fault. He recognized the same pain in Hutchins that he once saw in himself. When he realized how much Hutchins’ was suffering, Peredo decided to invite him to complete the same life-changing walk along the Camino de Santiago Trail that he did. In 2017. The duo set off to Europe to try to heal even more together…though their trip wasn’t without challenges.
Camino de Santiago Trail: A Pilgrimage For Healing
When they first began to walk the trail, Hutchins struggled to keep up with Peredo. He was weak, had a lack of appetite, and struggled to juggle the side effects of his many medications. Peredo had to support Hutchins by helping carry his backpack during difficult inclines and allowing him to rest when necessary. However, after a few days, Hutchins’ spirit began to lift. He not only grew more confident in his strength but also became more vulnerable with Peredo, investing in emotional talks about the accident, their lives, and their recoveries. Across the course of 40 days, both Peredo and Hutchins were able to heal in ways that they never did before. Their journey came to fruition at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, where Hutchins felt more ecstatic than he had in months. The pair of men both felt fulfilled at the end of their mission, able to prove their strength to themselves and their families. “I wanted to go back because I was broken,” Peredo said. “Luke wanted to do it because he was broken. We helped each other.”
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