A Morpeth schoolgirl received a little help from her friends to raise money for a charity that supports people with a genetic skin condition.
After Rebecca Watson explained how she has to deal with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), where a small amount of friction to the skin can cause painful blisters, to fellow members of Student Voice at Chantry Middle School and Technology College, the group initiated a non-uniform day.
Pupils got right behind the cause and an excellent total of £385.95 was raised for DEBRA, which helps individuals and families affected by EB.
The charity is mainly based at Great Ormond Street and the ten-year-old goes there for regular check-ups. As well as having her eyes, cheeks, teeth and gums examined, Rebecca can ask questions of the doctors and nurses and she will also be told if any new specialist creams or plasters are available.
She said: “When I spoke about my condition, my friends and quite a few fellow pupils were interested to find out more about EB.
“On the non-uniform day, they were donating £1 or £1.50 instead of the recommended 50p and I was really pleased with the total amount raised.
“There was a really warm atmosphere throughout the day because everyone at the school was supporting me.”
A few days beforehand, her dad David did an assembly to explain the work of DEBRA. He has taken part in a few Great North Run and London Marathon events in recent years.
“If someone has EB, the main thing you need to avoid is friction with the skin,” he said.
“With the blisters, you need to lance them and drain the fluid out as soon as possible, otherwise they will get bigger and bigger.
“The school is very understanding of Rebecca’s needs – for example they apply some of her eye drops – and they have made sure that she is able to take part in all activities.
“If there is an issue with her, we can get in touch with DEBRA straightaway to get advice and if it’s an emergency, one of its nurses will come out to see her.
“My activities for it have shown her that other children suffer from EB even worse than she does, so it’s great that she has been able to do something to raise money for the charity, which relies on donations as there is no specific NHS funding provision for EB.”
Head of school at Chantry, Steven Johnson, said Rebecca’s talk with Student Voice members and Mr Watson’s assembly had inspired pupils to support DEBRA and he was thrilled for them that such a big total was collected.
For more information about the charity, which also funds research into the condition, visit www.debra.org.uk