Trio plan fund-raiser for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of North Walsham tot

Friends of a family whose toddler daughter died earlier this year are rallying round to thank the hospital where she spent long stretches of her tragically-short life.

Little Casey Grand, from North Walsham, battled successfully through open-heart surgery and came out smiling after many other medical treatments for a range of conditions.

But the two-and-a-half year old became ill again last Boxing Day and was diagnosed with swine flu. She died in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) on January 4.

Now three footballing friends of Casey's father Jamie are calling on companies and the public to dig deep and support a charity auction and a marathon bike ride they're undertaking in a bid to raise at least �4,000 for GOSH, in London.

Paul Hinds, and brothers Graeme and Lewis Turner, will stage the auction in Trunch Social Club on October 22, and are also planning to take part in the 450k London to Paris cycle ride in a year's time.

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The trio play for Gimingham Utd FC which Jamie, 31, used to manage before his daughter's illness meant he could no longer spare the time.

Jamie and his partner Laura, 24, of Lyngate Road, had no suspicion that anything was wrong with their first baby when she was born, weighing a healthy 7lbs 110z, on July 11 2008.

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But doctors at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital told the couple that their daughter had a cleft palate and a hole in the heart, and she was rushed to GOSH for the first of many visits.

When Casey's parents married in Laura's home village of Coltishall in May 2009, Casey was back in the Norfolk and Norwich where family, including Laura in her wedding dress, called in to visit her on the big day.

The following month the baby had open-heart surgery to repair the defect and was back home six days before her first birthday, which the family celebrated with a barbecue.

But in August Casey, who was always susceptible to infections, became ill again. Many trips in and out of both the Norfolk and Norwich and GOSH followed as doctors struggled to identify what was wrong.

She was eventually treated with a number of drugs for systemic arthritis and a rare blood disorder called HLH. But Casey came to need round-the-clock oxygen to help with her breathing and her health deteriorated, leading to her final illness last Christmas.

Laura's mother, Sally Hall, said both the Norfolk and Norwich and GOSH had given Casey excellent care and the whole family was tremendously grateful.

'Great Ormond Street do an amazing job,' said Mrs Hall, 54, from Coltishall. 'They are so dedicated. They work with terminally-ill children every day and they show such understanding and care. You feel you are in the best possible place.

To support the fund-raising, ring Mr Hinds on 01692 404434.

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