TWO young friends who both lost their little sisters to rare diseases have organised a charity fundraising event in their memory.
Charlotte Sands, ten, and Angel Snowdon Smith, nine, from Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, have arranged a party for the Remembering Rebecca charity.
It which was set up in memory of Charlotte's little sister, Rebecca, who was 21-months-old when she died.
Through the charity Charlotte has become good friends with Angel, whose little sister, Jorja, died aged 19 months last November.
The friends, who have helped each other cope with their loss, decided to organise a family fundraising party at Charlotte’s school, Whinstone Primary, in Ingleby Barwick.
Charlotte’s mother, Gemma, said Rebecca suffered from an extremely rare brain condition called lissencephaly, which means ‘smooth brain,’ and died in August 2010.
The charity has raised £180,000 for other families since it was founded.
Mrs Sands said: “They met at a tombola we had at Asda last year and got on great.
"Charlotte helped Angel to get through after Jorja died and they’re great friends, they’ve had a sleep over and enjoy each other’s company.
"It was their idea to have the fund-raiser party and they got the disco for free and a face-painting. They’ve done really well.”
Angel’s father, Craig Snowden, said not just the girls but the whole families had become friends.
They met when the Remembering Rebecca charity provided a peapod chair for Jorja. She had Krabbe Disease, which affects the nervous system and is only by suffered about one in 100,000 people.
She also had epilepsy and could not walk, talk or even swallow.
Mr Snowden, who explained that Jorja’s second and third names, Kiara and Grace, were chosen by Angel and her older brother Joshua, said: “Rebecca’s family are really amazing people and they’ve done so much to help so many people. We’re proud of the girls for doing something so positive for this brilliant charity.”
Charlotte is not a newcomer to fundraising - she helped raise money for a sensory room for her little sister, then aged just five she carried out a sponsored swim.
“Sensory rooms and lighting and other equipment like specialist chairs can really make a difference but can be very expensive, sometimes thousands of pounds,” said Mrs Sands. “We just wanted to do something to help.”
The girls’ fundraising party on Saturday, February 15 is already a sell-out.
For more information on the Remembering Rebecca charity, go to remembering-rebecca.co.uk