Havant rowing challenge to help Grace walk

(left - right) Dave Shiers, Brett Farley and James Fryer at the launch of the rowing challenge. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14172-893)
(left - right) Dave Shiers, Brett Farley and James Fryer at the launch of the rowing challenge. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14172-893)

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THERE are two big figures that Grace Shiers needs to conquer in order to have a life-changing operation.

Her parents Katy and David, 27, are raising £65,000 so that Grace can be sent 3,055 miles to America for an operation to help the five-year-old walk unaided.

The family have organised a rowing fundraiser in the Meridian Centre, in Havant, where people will donate money to row as many miles as they can until they reach 3,055.

Mum Katy said: ‘The challenge has been set and will run until July 7.

‘It doesn’t matter if you row one mile or 100 – it will all help.

‘It’s only two months now until we go over, so I hope people keep backing us.’

As previously reported, Grace was born prematurely at 26 weeks, and her parents, of Titus Gardens, Cowplain, noticed problems in her development.

Eventually Grace was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects her ability to walk.

There is a procedure available to help Grace to walk unaided but currently it is not funded by the NHS.

The Shiers are trying to raise £65,000 to pay for the operation, which is called selective dorsal rhizotomy.

The aim of SDR is to ease muscle spasticity and improve mobility in people with cerebral palsy. It involves cutting nerves in the lower spine that are responsible for muscle rigidity. So far the family have raised £32,000.

A provisional date of August this year has been set for the family to go over to USA, where the operation will take place.

As well as helping the family, those who take part in the rowing will be entered into a draw to win a rowing machine.

Matthew will saddle up

IT STANDS for Grace and also eight other towns in Hampshire – the letter G.

And one keen cyclist has decided to visit all the towns in just one day to raise money for Grace Shiers.

Matthew Read, 29, of Cold East Way, Park Gate, has known Katy and David Shiers since school.

He said: ‘I grew up with Katy and David – I lived across the road from her as a child and we went to the same school, so I have known them both for a long time.

‘I know a lot about their daughter Grace and that’s why I decided to help.’

In order to help the family, Matthew will be taking part in a 146-mile bike ride, starting from Cowplain, on July 12.

‘I was looking at what kind of route I could take when my wife came up with the idea to look at all the towns in south Hampshire and the Isle of Wight that begin with G,’ added Matthew, pictured, who works for Southampton City Council.

‘Once I picked them out, I saw that they actually made a good circular route that’s a challenging distance for me. I cycle to and from work, and recently I did a 100-mile ride. It has made me very nervous, but I’m determined to do it.’

To donate, visit justgiving.com/gracesgoal and mention the cycle ride.

- Can you name the eight towns beginning with G in Hampshire and Isle of Wight?