Gracie-ann is 6 years old and she is the bravest little girl ever. She was born 9 1/2 weeks early and spent nearly 10 weeks in a special care baby unit and She was born with a very rare genetic disorder called Microduplication 22q11.2.
Gracie has a long list of medical complaints, including scoliosis, spina bifida, epilepsy and a heart condition. She also has multiple congenital abnormalities to her spinal cord and vertebra including a hemevertebra also known as butterfly vertebra.
Gracie also has something called VACTERAL syndrome, a neuropathic bladder and 3 kidneys instead of 2, a hip displacia, various bones in her body have not formed properly (for instance her knees and feet are "wonky") and her 1 thumb is in fact a finger and not attached.
This is what Gracie's Mum had to say about her beautiful daughter:
'I am so proud of my princess because no matter what life throws at her she takes it all in her stride. We were told she would never walk or talk and they didn't think she would live past 1 year old. Did I mention how my princess is 6!!! She can walk but not very far as it hurts her so she has got a wheelchair to help her get around, and she loves nothing better than to talk, sing and dance around.
She has alot of learning difficulties and is going through the process of a health care plan (formally known as statementing) to be able to access extra funding for more help in school. She has to wear special shoes called Peidro shoes to help turn her feet back to the position they should be in. They are hoping that in turn it will turn her knees as well, as the only other option for Gracie is surgery which would mean they would have to break her legs and reset them every 4-6 weeks for up to 2 years, which is a barbaric solution in my eyes.
Gracie has to go through so much in her short little life but she never questions it. She has had several operations. 1 heart operation. 1 operation on her arm. 1 operation on her ears and to remove her tonsils and repair her cleft palet. And then she had surgery 2 years ago to untether her spinal cord. She has always been too poorly to be able to go on a aeroplane but we found out last month that she can now fly which is a dream come true so we are now looking at taking her and her sisters on their first ever holiday abroad after we have saved up to somewhere hot like benidorm which will help with her stiff muscles too.'
About Piedro and changing lives
Shaun and Gav were very touched by Gracie's story, so they contacted Piedro and spoke with Charlotte Vickers, the customer services advisor at Piedro, who generously agreed to donate a pair of trainers and sandals for Gracie, which is worth a combined total of £250.
In addition to this we have also had an amazingly generous donation of £150 from Russell Jackson who wants to helps us purchase another pair for Gracie.