In 2015, Mark Joseph Peredo was riding high on his way home from landing an important client for his fledgling marketing business, but he never made it back to celebrate with his family. Instead, a car traveling on the opposite side of the interstate crossed the median, hitting one other car before smashing into Mark.
Doctors would later tell Mark that his foot had been shattered and he had broken several bones in his face. The injuries and subsequent surgeries rendered him unable to walk normally for a year, and Mark was forced to abandon his dream of being a business owner.
Little did Mark know, the driver was suffering, too — perhaps even more than Mark
The reason Luke Hutchins had lost control of his vehicle and hit Mark’s was because he had suffered a seizure, his first but not his last. After being airlifted to the hospital and undergoing diagnostic tests, Luke was told that veins in his brain had formed two deadly knots, which saddled him with chronic epilepsy. Eventually, the malformation, called a cavernous angioma, could kill him.
This news meant that Luke could no longer drive, work or take care of his daughters.
Mark knew none of this. Instead, he was still angry with the unknown driver who had cost him his career. This anger was compounded by the death of Mark’s father.
After Mark’s foot had mostly healed, he decided to walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago trail starting in France, traveling through the Pyrenees Mountains and across Spain. His hope was to find healing for his soul.
After returning from Spain in November of 2016, he was no longer angry at the driver who caused his accident, but he realized that he needed to do one more thing to finish his journey of healing: Meet Luke.
The two were nervous to speak to each other, but once Mark learned that Luke was not at fault for the incident and that he had been struggling, too, Mark knew that Luke needed to walk the Camino as well, and they needed to do it together.
In 2017, Mark and Luke embarked on their trip. The journey was hard on Luke first, according to an article in The Criterion. He was on medications that were keeping him from eating. On the first day, a steep trek up the mountains, Mark had to shoulder Luke’s backpack to help him make it through.
Luke, refusing to quit where thousands have, committed to continuing on. As time progressed, Luke became stronger, and he took himself off of a few of the medications. He and Mark had heart-to-hearts about their lives and what happened the day of the accident.
After 40 days, they returned, stronger in both mind and spirit. Today, Mark is creating a documentary about the peace he found on his first experience hiking the Camino. He is raising money for the project, which features an interview with Luke, on Kickstarter.com.
Luke told the Criterion that it was incredible to walk the Camino with Mark.
“Mark kept encouraging me,” he said. “When we got to Santiago de Compostela, I was so happy. It was finally mission complete. I can finally go home now.”
Mark said the journey helped him continue on his road to healing as well.
“For me, going through this process of healing and letting go and not hating is something I needed to do—to prove to myself, to prove to my children that you have to stay the course, and that something good will come from it,” he said. “I wanted to go back because I was broken. Luke wanted to do it because he was broken. We helped each other through this.