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Phil Bentley and Sophie Cox are set to take on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 24, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

Phil Bentley and Sophie Cox.

Phil Bentley and Sophie Cox.

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A Staffordshire Moorlands couple are set to embark on a trip of a lifetime – all in aid of charity.

Phil Bentley and Sophie Cox, pictured, will be, next month, trekking the challenging Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru to raise funds for a charity in memory of her brother-in-law, Damian.

Damian lost his life at the age of 45 to a rare form of cancer, Sézary syndrome, an aggressive form called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Sophie, aged 29, said: "Damian battled the disease for over five years and sadly lost his fight in 2009, leaving behind his wife and two teenage daughters.

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"The latter part of his life was spent in the excellent care of the staff at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist cancer centre in Manchester.

"It is our aim to raise funds in recognition of the unconditional support given to Damian and the outstanding work carried out there."

Phil, aged 30, and Sophie, from Thorncliffe, are set to face a four-day trek up steep terrain and will have to contend with the problems associated with high altitude.

Sophie said: "We have been training for the trek as much as we can with running, cycling and hiking, and although this will help us to conquer the mountains unfortunately high altitude sickness does not depend on fitness."

Sophie added: "We were both very close to Damian, he was more like a brother to us. He was a truly amazing guy and we have such admiration for how brave he was throughout his illness as he suffered terribly."

Phil added: "We will never forget one time while visiting Damian in hospital and he was saying how we should do some more travelling. We had said it was difficult as we both had our own businesses and he said 'Life is too short, surely you can see that as I lie here in this state. Please go follow your dreams before it's too late'.

"His words have stayed with us ever since and have been the inspiration behind the trip."

Phil and Sophie, who have funded the trip themselves, hope to raise £1,000 for the charity. They are asking for sponsorship and any donations.

Sophie, who owns a shop with her sister in Leek called Bibelot, will also be having a fund-raising day at the shop on Saturday, May 24.

On the day Sophie and Liz will also be donating a percentage of their sales from the shop to the cause. If you would like to donate money to the cause you can visit Bibelot in Leek or go to their justgiving page www.justgiving.com/sophphilmachupicchu.

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