Ref. 25821-10KIDNEY patient Rachael Bowden has been given a bravery award because of the courageous way she deals with her condition.

The 15-year-old has suffered from an illness known as nephrotic syndrome since she was two.

Her condition has deteriorated in the last year and she is rarely able to attend her lessons at Wootton Bassett School.

But she is still well supported by staff and pupils there, who presented her with the Calli Wheeler Award for endeavour through adversity.

The award is given in memory of Calli Wheeler, a former pupil at the school who died at the age of 18 of a type of cancer osteosarcoma.

Rachael said: "At the presentation, there was a lot of applause. I held the award up and went back to my seat but they kept on whistling and cheering. I felt a bit overwhelmed.

"I also get cards and presents from my tutor group, so it is nice to think that they think of you."

In spite of the cheers, a modest Rachael said she didn't feel she had done anything to deserve an award.

Nephrotic syndrome is a secondary disease relating to kidney problems, and Rachael is unable to have a transplant until it settles down.

She is unable to retain any protein and has only 14 per cent of normal kidney function. She had a catheter fitted in her stomach in January to enable her has to undergo the nine hours of dialysis every night.

In the last year, she has had 80 hospital appointments, mainly at the renal unit at the Bristol Children's Hospital, and had to be admitted four times.

Because of her ill health Rachael can't eat very much but her friends visit her and she enjoys a pizza with them.

She has not been well enough to concentrate on her education and only attended school for 10 hours last year.

But she hopes to repeat Year 10 and has a home tutor to help her with her studies.

Her parents Chris, 40, and Elaine, 39, are extremely proud of their daughter and are delighted that her bravery has been recognised.

Chris said: "She takes every drop of medicine and up to 30 tablets every day and never complains."

Elaine said: "She has gone through so much but she just gets on with it."

The family is grateful to everyone who has supported Rachael, including her twin sisters, Katie and Victoria, aged 13, and her friends, doctors, nurses, and staff at Wootton Bassett School.