An eight-year-old girl from Sutton who was born with a rare genetic condition is raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital this weekend.

Mela Dodah has Apert Syndrome which saw the bones in her hands, feet, and skull fused together permanently when she was developing inside her mother’s womb.

The skull is made up of several “flat, plate-like” bones, connected by sutures, which enable bones to slide over each other during birth and allow for brain growth, according to charity Contact.

But in this uncommon disorder these fuse together early and alters the skull’s shape, increasing pressure within it that can affect brain development.

As her illness means it’s a struggle for her to do things such as breathe, eat, walk, and talk, she has undergone more than 20 surgeries in her eight years of life so far.

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Mela Dodah (second from right) with her family. Photo: Great Ormond Sreet Hospital Children's Charity

The complexity of her Apert syndrome also means she is under constant care by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors at GOSH in central London.

But now she will be one of many runners, walkers, and scooters – with various ages and abilities – participating at the RBC Race for the Kids in Hyde Park.

Paula said: “Our family takes part in Race for the Kids every year and we have been doing so since Mela was four months old. With Mela under the care of so many specialists at GOSH, we want to do what we can to give back to the hospital.

“Race for the Kids is a special time of year for us. Every year, I watch my girls do a stretch of the race on their scooters, and sometimes I give Mela a piggy back or she uses a wheelchair.

“They always look forward to the entertainment at the finish line. There’s something new and exciting every year, but no matter what the day brings, we will always be there walking for GOSH.”

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Mela Dodah with her family at RBC Race for the Kids. Photo: Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity

Funds will be raised by the family for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity as the event takes place on Saturday, October 13.

People are also being encouraged to attend the event on the day.

Laura Savory, head of community fundraising at the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, said: “The RBC Race for the Kids is a very special fun run where we see patients, families, staff and supporters come together to help us raise vital funds for GOSH.

“All the money raised from the event will help us make a real difference to seriously ill children and their families from across the UK.

“I would encourage everyone to join us on Saturday 13 October and to either jog, walk or wheel their way around the course and enjoy the fantastic family festival after the race.”

Entry prices begin from £18 for adults and £12 for children.

To find out more, click here.