St Albans girl with rare condition is awarded Maltings Community Heroes Award for July

Maltings centre manager Phil Corrigan presents Gabriella Farrugia and her family with her award and

Maltings centre manager Phil Corrigan presents Gabriella Farrugia and her family with her award and cheque. - Credit: Archant

A brave girl who spoke out to her school about her rare disease has been rewarded for her charitable efforts.

Wheatfields Junior School pupil, Gabriella Farrugia, 11, has scooped July’s Maltings Community Heroes Award by raising £1,647 for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Gabriella talked about her condition, Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM), a rare chronic auto-immune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body, resulting in severe muscle weakness, to 300 of her classmates in an assembly.

She then organised a sponsored fun run where pupils attempted to run around the school field as many times as possible in 10 minutes.

Gabriella spent six months at GOSH after being diagnosed with JDM last year and still goes back regularly for treatment. She wanted to raise money for the hospital to say thank you for the help she had been given.

Gabriella chose an active fundraising event because her condition means her movement is restricted.

She said: “I wanted to do the fun run to raise as much money as possible for Great Ormond Street because it’s such an amazing hospital.

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“I did the talk about JDM to raise awareness of it because it’s so rare and nobody knows about it; putting up with a condition that nobody’s heard about and nobody understands is really irritating.”

She added: “After I did the fun run everyone was saying it was amazing and everyone really enjoyed it; I didn’t think it would go down well because not very many people like running in my school.

“I would have been happy with whatever money I raised because all of it would have been more than GOSH had before, but getting that amount of money was incredible.”

The Maltings has been running the community awards scheme in conjunction with the Herts Advertiser and each month the winner is presented with a £100 cheque.