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Salisbury teen fundraising for Stars appeal with wheelchair 10K

Grazia logo Grazia 6 days ago Sophie Cridland
a statue of Johnny Mercer riding a horse: Grace and her horse Salisbury © Credits: Salisbury Stars Appeal Grace and her horse Salisbury

A 16-year-old from Salisbury is taking on a 10K in her wheelchair to raise money for the STARS Appeal Children's Diabetes fund and Southampton Hospitals Charity UK.

Last November Grace Aymes was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour on her spinal cord - which she has nicknamed Colin the Caterpillar.

After emergency surgery she is now learning to walk again.

Grace wants to say thank you to both Salisbury and Southampton hospital's for her treatment by taking on the challenge just six months after her diagnosis.

She says it's something she's wanted to do since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes nine years ago: "I wanted to give something back to the amazing children's diabetes team at Salisbury as they've saved my life several times and have been really supportive."

a person riding a motorcycle in a field © Salisbury Stars Appeal

On 18th April Grace will complete her 10K. She has been training locally going out several times a week and gradually building up the distance.

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The initial fundraising target was £1000, already Grace has tripled that, raising over £3,100.

a person riding a bicycle on the side of a road: Grace Aymes in her wheelchair training for her 10K © Credits: Ben and Jo Aymes Grace Aymes in her wheelchair training for her 10K

Grace told Greatest Hits Radio Salisbury her story:

"In September 2020 I started getting pain in my lower back that was keeping me awake at night for a few months and this got worse and worse over time the pain eventually spreading to my legs, I never imagined what was growing inside me.

"After somehow managing to drag myself through my mock exams in November, my legs literally collapsed when I got off my beloved horse, Fern after riding that weekend.

"Thanks to my amazing Diabetic Consultant who has kept me alive for 9 years already, I was admitted for an emergency MRI and that's when we found a 9cm tumour and cyst in my spinal cord. We were swiftly transferred to G2 Neurosurgery at Southampton's Children's Hospital.

"They decided I needed emergency surgery to evict Colin as soon as possible and a few days later I underwent 7hrs of surgery. I then spent a month in hospital recovering with the amazing team on G2 - the nurses were always there to keep me smiling and laughing, a lot of them I think could easily become comedians! I have since then been doing intensive re-hab and have had to learn to walk again."

Grace's mum and dad are extremely proud of what she is doing:

"She has handled everything with positivity and a smile and the fundraising is absolutely amazing."

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