Martin O’Neill and Graeme Souness lead Debra’s Big Sports Quiz event this weekend

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Sporting stars including Graeme Souness and Martin O’Neill unite in Glasgow this weekend to take part in a charity sports quiz – and you can be on their team.

Hosted by Jim White and Emma Dodds, the Debra Big Sports Quiz will let members of the audience take part alongside a celebrity captain on Sunday, March 19.

Vice President of Debra, Graeme Souness will be joining in, along with other big names including Frank McAvennie, Chick Young, Simon Jordan, John Beattie, Martin O’Neill, Hannah Rankin, Lisa Martin and Shelley Kerr.

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Audience members can bid for the chance to join a team, with all the money raised by the event going to Debra as they aim to raise an incredible £5 million this year.

Debra vice president Graeme Souness said: “This charity and this cause are incredibly close to my heart - the stories of Isla and so many other children living with this condition just got to me.

“I want to do all I can to raise awareness and money to one day hopefully find a cure, or at the very least treatments to ease the suffering of these amazingly brave kids.

“The Sports Quiz event is intended to do both those things - far too many people have no idea what EB is and we need to change that.

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“Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, to our friends in the world of sport taking part and to everyone who has bought a ticket so far - if you haven’t, please do join us.”

Fellow sporting icon Frank McAvennie was delighted to throw his weight behind the event and the charity.

Frank said: “Of course I jumped at the chance to be part of this event for this incredible cause - the stories told by these brave kids are heart-breaking.

“It’s an honour to work with Debra and we will not only give supporters a great night, but hopefully help raise vital funds and awareness.”

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Host Emma Dodds said: “It’s a privilege to help Debra in any way I can. Butterfly Skin is a condition which causes such suffering for so many, yet very few people are really aware of it.

“I want to do all I can to help change that, and of course the Big Sports Quiz will offer not only a chance to raise funds and awareness, but a great night out for those who buy tickets and support what we are doing. I am proud to be a small part of this amazing cause and I hope I can do much more to help in future.”

Debra is an organisation set up to raise awareness and funds to help sufferers of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), also known as Butterfly Skin.

It’s a cruelly debilitating and devastatingly painful lifelong condition which causes agonising blisters and skin tears from the slightest contact – being hugged or touched lightly causes terrible damage and pain.

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The charity supports families and sufferers across Scotland, including 14-year-old Isla Grist who lives in the Highlands.

Isla was born with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare and life-limiting condition which means her skin blisters with any pressure.

Even the inside of her throat can blister, requiring her to be tube fed. She must be wrapped head to toe in bandages and have a carer at school.

Isla’s dad Andy said: “Isla’s skin is very fragile, both all the parts you can see and the linings of her mouth, throat, stomach and rest of the inside of her fragile wee body. Some wounds she has dealt with and the pain and anxiety she has lived with can be extremely upsetting.

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“There is nothing currently to stop EB and that must change as quickly as possible and we need your help to do that. Isla has already had more than sixty operations, under general anaesthetic, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, sixty!

“Support from Debra has helped us in our everyday lives from the very beginning of this journey.

“Debra gave us access to specialist advice and care for Isla, someone to talk with, some of the answers and much welcomed support, both practical and emotional.

“A Debra-funded EB nurse taught Tilli and me how to best look after Isla’s fragile skin. With support and practice, we grew more confident and are now, unfortunately, experts.

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Spending hours with a team of clinical carers, preparing and applying, creams and specialist dressings to help Isla’s delicate skin to heal, while also trying to protect it from infection and further damage. To do this, Isla requires strong painkillers including fentanyl, ketamine, methadone and midazolam to be administered to her.

“I know that Isla wants what we all want: a life free of pain. A life free of the fear that EB will continue to devastate her increasingly fragile body. We must continue to #FightEB.”

Currently there are no approved treatments for EB and in the most severe cases it can be fatal.

Debra are working to fund research into treatments to help the lives of sufferers and ultimately a cure.

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While a UK charity, Debra is funding a number of pioneering studies in Scotland – two in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh – into potential treatments.

And Hannah Rankin added: “I’m really looking forward to the Debra Big Sports Quiz on March 19 - it’s a real honour to be joining the line up alongside some great sporting legends for a fantastic cause and a great way to help raise support for the charity.’”

DEBRA BIG SPORTS QUIZ Dinner, 7pm, Sunday March 19 at the William Street Hilton Glasgow.

Tables of 10 available for £1500, single tickets are available at £150 each.

To book or for further info contact: [email protected]

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