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By ANTONIA BANNISTER News Reporter @ARBANNISTER A BRAVE young girl rose from her wheelchair to walk across the finishing line of the Midlands' biggest fun run.

Grace Riddell was helped around the course by relatives but was determined to complete the Great Midlands Fun Run under her own steam.

"The run was difficult for Grace," admitted proud mum Emma.

"She was due to have her spinal rods, which are magnetic and keep her back stable, lengthened the following day, so she was in a lot of discomfort.

"I didn't think she would be able to walk across the line but as soon as she saw the balloons, she started clapping and getting excited."

Grace, aged ten, from Castle Vale, was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome just 12 days after her birth.

She requires 24-hour care, is fed through a tube and has other conditions including autism, severe scoliosis - which required surgery last year - and a low immune system.

But Emma says that Grace is a happy child who is always smiling.

"She loves being pushed in her chair, visiting parks and listening out for birds," said Emma.

"The wind blowing in her face will bring her such enjoyment.

"She's a whizz on the iPad and she's just beginning to learn how to use a communication app to indicate her needs and wants."

Mum-of-three Emma has herself taken part in the Fun Run for the past nine years to raise awareness of the genetic disorder and funds for the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Foundation UK.

Grace began taking part in 2011.

Emma and her husband Mark will continue to raise money for the charity throughout the year by taking part in various sponsored runs and walks.

The fundraising is an important way of raising awareness of Grace's condition among medical professionals.

"The syndrome is so rare that, often when you go into hospitals, doctors have never heard of it," said Emma. "They end up having to Google it.

"The Smith-Magenis Syndrome Foundation UK is a small charity that helps support families, and that includes sending information to professionals.

"The Great Midlands Fun Run was just one of many events I'm doing to raise awareness and funds his year.

"And next year, Mark is doing the Three Peaks challenge with several other dads who have children with the same condition."

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 16, 2017
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