GRACE Acklam is a very special young girl – and she knows it.
The 10-year-old who suffers from an extremely rare and incurable kidney disease called MPGN saw more than 160 of her schoolfriends take part in a major sponsored swim to support her.
MPGN means the performance of Grace’s kidneys will slowly worsen to a point where she will very likely need either a transplant or dialysis to keep going.
But the Portsmouth Grammar School pupil is not letting it get her down – and she admits she was moved to see so many youngsters swim to raise as much money as possible for Kidney Research UK.
Grace said: ‘It’s been amazing, everyone had so much fun swimming but they were doing it for a serious cause that is so important to me. Having MPGN makes me feel special in a way because it is so rare, and having so many people who are so supportive makes me feel even more special.
‘I know I have a problem with my kidneys but I feel fine in every way apart from never wanting to get out of bed in the mornings – although I’m not sure it has anything to do with my kidneys!
‘I’m desperate for someone to come up with a medicine for a cure. Even if everyone raises just £5 it would make a huge difference.’
Enthusiastic boys and girls aged between nine and 11 years took part in the swimming event at HMS Temeraire where teams of six tried to swim a maximum number of widths in just 20 minutes.
Abi Wood, 11, Grace’s best friend, said: ‘It was great fun and we all had the extra bit of adrenaline knowing we were swimming for Grace. Grace is an amazing and inspirational person – she never lets her kidney problems get her down.’