Olympic star visits sick schoolgirl Grace Yeats

SEAMUS BOYER
Last updated 18:29 12/11/2012
Grace Yeats
Valerie Adams paid a special visit to Carterton's Grace Yeats in hospital.

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Wairarapa

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Carterton girl Grace Yeats has shared a golden moment in hospital with Valerie Adams.

The 10-year-old got to meet the Olympic shotput champion at Auckland's Starship Hospital on Friday, where Adams was visiting sick children.

During the visit Grace was able to pose for photos with the star athlete, as well as get up close with Adams' London gold medal.

A photo of the meeting was posted on the Grace Yeats Trust Facebook page, along with the comment: ''[It] was very exciting as she got to meet Valerie Adams and hold the gold medal that was very heavy.

''Thank you Valerie for taking the time to visit Starship and definitely brightening up one little girl's day.''

The St Mary's School pupil has been unable to move since May, when she was struck down with a mystery illness.

The most likely diagnosis is acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), a rare brain disease.

Last month Grace had her blood removed, filtered and then returned in a procedure known as plasmapheresis.

The treatment left her in intensive care for five days, but was hoped to reduce the powerful spasms she suffers by filtering out any traces of infection.

However, so far it appeared the treatment had no ''obvious effect'' on Grace's condition.

She continues to suffer severe dystonia - which causes the spasms - and requires a cocktail of drugs each day.

Jonathan Tanner, spokesman for the Grace Yeats Trust, has previously said that while plasmapheresis was not a cure, the procedure could help speed up Grace's return home.

New treatment options will now be considered, but Grace will remain ''severely and permanently disabled''.

''Her cognitive brain function remains excellent,'' he said.

November 17 marks six months since the day Grace was initially rushed to Wairarapa Hospital, just hours after complaining from a sore throat.

A charity ball for Grace will be held at the Masterton Town Hall the same day, the latest in a long line of community initiatives to raise money for the stricken girl and her family.

Contact Seamus Boyer
Wairarapa reporter
Email: seamus.boyer@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @SeamusBoyer

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- The Dominion Post

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