WOOTTON Bassett School student Rachael Bowden has been nominated for an award for her fight against kidney failure.

Rachael, 15, was diagnosed at two-and-a-half with nephrotic syndrome, an extremely rare condition which affects one in a million children in Britain.

The disease scars the kidneys and eventually causes them to fail.

Her teachers have nominated her to receive the Calli Wheeler memorial award, which was donated to the school by the parents of Calli Wheeler, after their daughter died from cancer at the age of 18.

The award is a large, tear-drop-shaped glass sculpture, mounted on a plaque. It has not been given out in the past three years.

Rachael's name has now been engraved on the plaque and it is on display at the school.

She has to receive nine hours of dialysis each night.

Her mother, Elaine, 39, said: "Rachael has only attended around two weeks of school during the last year, because she is so poorly.

"But she does have a home tutor and has had a lot of love and support from her school."

"She was chuffed to bits to see the pupils clapping and applauding her bravery so loudly.

Rachael said: "I got up 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 they think of you.

Rachael added she doesn't feel she has done anything to deserve an award.

Mrs Bowden said: "We have a very close family and Rachael's twin sisters, Katie and Victoria, who are 13, are devoted to her, fetching the equipment and fluids needed for her dialysis and taking her blood pressure.

"Despite the discomfort of her condition and treatment, Rachael manages to keep chirpy."

"Her illness has caused her to lose a lot of weight and she has lost her appetite to some extent, but recently she discovered a taste for Domino's pizza, which is great news.

"She also gets great support from her community nurse and the renal team at Bristol Children's Hospital, where we take her for appointments every two weeks or so.

"It is very worrying for my husband Chris and I."

"The doctors have told us that Rachael is not well enough for a transplant at the moment.

"There is a risk that if she were to have a transplant, her condition may return afterwards.

"But she is coming to terms with the fact that she may have to wait between six months and a year for the condition to settle, so they can consider a transplant.

"In the meantime, this award has been a welcome boost to her."