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Carshalton girl, 11, has 'magical' trip to Lapland after year in and out of hospital

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A "LITTLE fighter" who has endured the toughest year of her short life enjoyed a dream Christmas trip to Lapland.

Tia-Grace Ray, 11, from Carshalton, had her festive wishes granted – after a year in which she has been in and out of hospital, battling a debilitating disorder.

She suffers from neuromyelitis optica, a disorder where the immune system attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord, sometimes leading to blindness and muscle weakness.

For much of this year Tia-Grace has been in a wheelchair and, though she is recovering well, she is still being fed through a tube.

She also suffers from extreme exhaustion, which means she cannot attend a regular school.

Children's charity Starlight arranged for Tia-Grace, along with her mum Sandra and dad Richard, to travel to Luosto, a traditional Finnish resort that offers a magical Lapland experience.

The family travelled with a group of families who all have children with serious illnesses.

Sandra, of Arcadia Close, told the Advertiser: "It was absolutely amazing. I would just describe it as totally magical."

She added: "This trip to Lapland has meant the world to Tia-Grace. Without a doubt it has allowed her to remember the magic of Christmas."

During their trip, the family went on a sleigh ride through the forests pulled by a team of huskies, met some reindeer, and, of course, Santa and his elves.

Paying tribute to her daughter's bravery, Sandra added: "She is a little superstar – this time last year she couldn't even hold her own head up.

"It was a shock. One day you go out shopping with your little girl and she says 'I don't feel well', the next ...

"Her normality of life has been taken away but she's a little fighter, that's for sure."

For now the family is looking forward to a happy Christmas with Tia-Grace, outside of hospital.

"We're hoping to have a family Christmas at home this year. That's all we want from Santa," Sandra added.

Carshalton girl, 11, has 'magical' trip to Lapland after year in and out of hospital


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