Grace Elkes, who lives in Birch Hill, presented medals to entrants at the ASK Italian Summer Triathlon, at Olympic venue Dorney Lake, held in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, on Thursday, July 10.
The seven-year-old has been treated at the hospital since 2008 for long segment trachael stenosis, an extremely rare condition which affects only one in five million children.
The Crowthorne Church of England Primary School pupil was accompanied at the event by her sister Molly, 11, and mum Joanna who said: “I’m so proud of Grace. She has not had an easy time and has faced many setbacks but she is a fighter and we’re so grateful for the excellent care she has received at the hospital.” The condition refers to an abnormal narrowing of the central air passageways.
As a result of the condition, Grace’s windpipe, or trachea, was so narrow she could hardly breathe. She was referred for treatment on to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which treats children with the rarest and most complex conditions from across the country. Grace received her treatment from leading paediatric heart and lung specialist Professor Martin Elliot, who performed surgery to widen her windpipe. She now visits the hospital for follow-up appointments.
The Summer Triathlon saw teams of ASK Italian staff, friends, customers and supplies complete a 750m swim, a 25km cycle and a 10k run. The event raised more than £22,000.
The event was part of ASK Italian’s aim to raise £1 million towards a new surgery centre at the hospital. The triathlon event takes the total raised by the company to more than £500,000.