Christmas comes early for Gracie

Noah Coates meets a surprise visitor. INCT 51-650-CON
Noah Coates meets a surprise visitor. INCT 51-650-CON

There was a very special visitor for seven-year-old Carrick girl Gracie Coates on her birthday recently.

Santa arrived at her home by horsedrawn carriage accompanied by members and children from the Commons Rambling Club.

Presents and a birthday cake were given to the birthday girl before Santa handed Christmas gifts to Gracie and her brother Noah.

Santa then invited Noah, Gracie and the other children present to join him in a ride aboard the horsedrawn carriage which had been made available by John McDermott.

The special occasion was enhanced with the singing of Christmas carols led by members of the Elim Pentecostal church.

William Bell, of Commons Rambling Club, said: “We would like to thank all those who donated so generously for this very worthwhile cause, raising £1,700 and also to those who gave so willingly of their time and efforts in organising this special visit to the Coates family.

“This was indeed a heart-warming occasion and was a particular highlight in the Commons Ramblers calendar.”

Gracie and her ten-year-old brother Noah suffer from the genetic condition Vanishing White Matter Disease, a form of leukodystrophy.

The leukodystrophies are a group of rate genetic disorders that affect the central nervous system by disrupting the growth or maintenance of the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells.

The disorders are progressive meaning that they tend to get worse throughout the life of the patient and can often mean that life expectancy is reduced to teenage years.