AN EIGHT-year-old girl with a rare autoimmune disease will be walking 58 miles from Legoland with her brother to raise money for charities close to her heart.

Siblings Nancy and Ted Ashley-Potter, from North Baddesley, are hoping to raise £2,000 by trekking from Legoland Windsor to Southampton Children's Hospital in 24 hours.

Nancy, 8, suffers from a chronic condition called Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE), which means she is tube-fed so she can swallow and avoid anaphylactic shock.

EoE affects around one in 1,500 people, with too many eosinophils (a type of white blood cell), in the oesophagus causing inflammation and scarring, making swallowing difficult.

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Nancy’s mum, Laura Ashley, said: “Nancy was unwell as a baby and we had recurring visits to the doctors who told us it was reflux and she would grow out of it.

“She continued to get worse, becoming violently sick whenever she ate anything to the point that she couldn't swallow even water at one stage.

“Nancy’s allergy team at Southampton Children’s Hospital referred Nancy to the Gastro department and by working together they diagnosed Nancy with a rare autoimmune disease called Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE).

“While most hospital stays were only a day or two, we have spent some weeks in the children’s hospital when she was at her worst. We are so thankful to the hospital for continuing to run tests until we had a diagnosis. The staff at Southampton Hospital have gone above and beyond.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re going crazy, especially when it’s a disease that doesn’t tick all the boxes. I don’t know where we would be without the hospital. All the consultants and nurses have always been so supportive.

“When Nancy had her tube fitted this year she said she’d like people to understand her more. I’m immensely proud of them both. Ted is such a good advocate for her and neither of them know any different.”

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Ted, 10, has recently been showing signs of the same condition and will soon be tested.

The siblings will be setting off on their 58-mile trek on Saturday, October 7 and will also be hosting a raffle and running the AJ Bell Junior Great South Run in the same month.

The family is hoping to raise more than £1,000 each for Southampton Hospitals Charity and the Eosinophilic Diseases Charity to help raise awareness of the autoimmune condition.

The brother and sister double act have already raised more than £500. To donate go to