Young Ipswich fan supports teacher with ultra-rare condition

Mark Bonner and Kieran McKenna presenting Verity Grainger and Noah with shirts

Mark Bonner and Kieran McKenna presenting Verity Grainger and Noah with shirts - Credit: Richard Calver/Matchday Images

A young Ipswich Town fan and his teacher were invited to Town's fixture against Cambridge United on Saturday after sending a 'moving' letter.

Eight-year-old Noah and his teacher Verity Grainger, who supports Cambridge, were invited as special guests of the club after Noah sent a letter to Town's CEO, Mark Ashton.

In the letter, Noah explains how his 'amazing' teacher Mrs Grainger, had put herself at risk during the pandemic, to make sure that he and his classmates at Tannery Drift First School in Royston, did not miss out on their education.

Mrs Grainger lives with an ultra-rare condition called MNGIE (mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy).

It is a life-shortening condition and only an estimated 200 people in the world have the condition.

Both Mrs Grainger and her sister, Zillah have the condition, while they also lost their eldest sister Gail last year aged 42 due to the disease.

The Club invited Noah and his family, along with Mrs Grainger and her family, to watch the League One tie from the directors box.

Noah with Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna before Saturday's match against Cambridge United

Noah with Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna before Saturday's match against Cambridge United - Credit: Richard Calver/Matchday Images

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Pre-match, Noah and Mrs Grainger were presented with shirts from Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna and Cambridge manager Mark Bonner, after dining in the boardroom.

Speaking to the club website, CEO Mark Ashton said: "I was genuinely moved when I read the letter from Noah a few weeks ago. 

"The impact that Mrs Grainger has on Noah, an amazing young man, and the rest of her pupils is clear to see. 

"It was a privilege to have him, Mrs Grainger and their families with us as special guests on Saturday. 

"I hope that they all had a great day at Portman Road, and I’d encourage supporters to spare what they can to contribute towards the treatment for Verity and her sister."

Given its rarity, treatment is expensive. The family hope to raise £500,000 to cover the cost of enzyme replacement therapy for Mrs Grainger and her sister.

A signed shirt has been donated by the club to help raise money for the cause, and you can donate to help Verity and her sister here.