Amazing Grace – A Family’s Story:

Family Story - Grace BradburnGrace Bradburn was admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital on the 24th March 2007, on her first birthday, as the chicken pox she had been suffering from had become more severe. In the week that she was in hospital her condition worsened, and she was transferred by CATS Ambulance to St Mary’s Hospital and came to our COSMIC Ward.

It soon became clear to the PICU medical team that Grace’s immune system was not functioning properly. Whilst she was on our unit, research was initiated to find out as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and this led to some innovative treatments for Grace.   She benefitted from life support equipment, genetic sequencing machines and research, all funded by COSMIC. Since her time in PICU, her family have always spoken highly of the outstanding care given by the medical team.

For three weeks, Grace bravely fought for her life, but without her immunity her little body could not repair itself. On 24th April 2007, Grace sadly passed away aged 13 months.

Since the day Grace lost her battle, her tough fight and bravery has never been forgotten by her family, friends, COSMIC and St Mary’s PICU. Her incredible family felt that they wanted to deal with her passing with a positive light – through fundraising and enabling research to further understand her rare condition and help children with the same illness in the future.

Professor Levin, who cared for Grace, and his team at Imperial College continued researching after her death and were able to discover that Grace was missing a large chunk of Chromosome 7. This vital chromosome includes a gene that is an essential component of the viral-detection pathway.  Without this gene, Grace’s immune system was unable to fight viruses like chicken pox.

Grace’s genetic impairment could have only been discovered through an illness like the one she suffered. But comfort has been found in the knowledge that her case will allow the Medical Profession to discover more about the workings of the human immune system; and that her death has meant that many other sick children will benefit from the funds that have been raised in her memory.

To this day, the Bradburn’s have raised over £100,000 in memory of Grace. This incredible amount has been achieved through doing lots of different activities including attending the COSMIC Walk every year, cycling the Dunwich Dynamo and from London to Paris , and getting communities involved through rotary clubs, restaurants and carnivals!  Family, friends and kind supporters also continuously give to Grace’s Just Giving In Memory page. This amazing effort and amount raised has made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of children, parents and PICU staff. For this, we cannot thank the Bradburn’s and their supporters enough.

Grace’s amazing story perfectly represents all the incredibly brave, tough patients and families that COSMIC has and will continue to support for many years to come.