Football legend Graeme Souness to swim Channel to help ‘butterfly skin’ girl
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Proving to be a legend both on and off the pitch, Graeme Souness is set to swim the English Channel to help people living with ‘butterfly skin’.
The former Liverpool player believes that epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is the 'cruellest disease out there'.
EB happens to be a rare inherited skin disorder that causes the skin to become very fragile.
Fourteen-year-old Isla Grist - who suffers from a condition that causes her skin to tear at the slightest touch - was Souness' inspiration behind the the cause.
The young girl from Black Isle was born with 'butterfly skin' and often finds herself wrapped head to toe in bandages, which need to be changed three times a week.
The whole process is extremely painful.
That's why former Sky Sports pundit Souness plans to raise £1.1m for the Debra charity who supports 5,000 people like Isla to overcome their difficulties.
Although there is no cure for EB, mild forms may improve with age.
Sat alongside the little girl on BBC Breakfast, Souness fought back tears while explaining how he and Isla have become 'mates'.
"She does this to me every time. She's an inspiration to me - even at my age," he said.
"This disease... it's the cruellest, nastiest disease. For someone so young to be so brave... and Isla's aware of the impact this has on her mum and dad and she helps them.
"This is a very special young lady you're in the company of, she really is, and I am… she gets me in tears every time I'm in her company."
Souness will be joined alongside Isla's father Andy and four other members for the 21-mile journey from England to France, which plans to take place on 18 June.
"It's hard for Isla, the blisters she's got all over her body and the raw skin. Up to half her body is not covered in skin," Andy said.
"It not only affects the external parts of the skin you can see, it affects the internal linings as well and that's blistering and tearing of the skin inside your throat and the like and it's relentless. It just doesn't stop."
Isla added: "Watching TV for me - distraction is a big part of my everyday life because it does distract me and I can go into another dimension and…not get away from it but distance sometimes."