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Birthday boon!

PUBLISHED: 14:58 28 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 03 July 2010

Hopton woman Rachel Marsh is pictured cutting her birthday cake.

Hopton woman Rachel Marsh is pictured cutting her birthday cake.

It's cake-cutting time for Rachel Marsh, who has a rare life-threatening disease but has celebrated a milestone birthday and raised a record sum for charity.

It's cake-cutting time for Rachel Marsh, who has a rare life-threatening disease but has celebrated a milestone birthday and raised a record sum for charity.

Rachel, of Watsons Close, Hopton, was diagnosed with Wegener's granulomatosis when she was 15 and studying for her GCSEs at Cliff Park High School, Gorleston.

Now, she has celebrated her 30th birthday and raised thousands of pounds for a charity that researches the disease, which inflames the blood vessels and attacks the body's immune system.

Close friends and family attending a party at Potters Leisure Resort in the village

were asked to not to buy presents but instead to make a donation to the Stewart Strange Trust. Gifts and money raised from a raffle, featuring prizes given by friends, family and businesses, raised £2,321.

Further birthday surprises for Rachel, a keen Norwich City fan, included a trip to Carrow Road to watch her team, then struggling for survival in their Championship league, play Watford.

Another £700 was raised for the trust after Rachel was invited to speak at a Masonic Lodge ladies' night, bringing the total to more than £3,000.

She said: “It really is an amazing amount of money for the trust, and I know they will be very grateful.

“On average they receive about £1,000 in donations every month, so a big thank

you to everyone who donated. This is

the biggest amount I've ever handed

over.”

There is no cure for the disease, which has caused Rachel to suffer nosebleeds, lung and kidney problems. It also affects the airways, so catching a cold can mean Rachel is confined to bed.

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