Friends help Grace raise kidney cash

PGS Kidney Swim
PGS Kidney Swim
Haverhill's Family Christmas Night (as pictured from last year) takes place on Friday, December 1. Picture by Andy Mayes.

Haverhill festive weekend has plenty for all of the family

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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.’