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Scottish footballing legend to swim English channel for charity!

A legend of the modern Scottish footballing era is set to swim the English channel to raise money for a charity that fights a rare skin condition.

Graeme Souness, who is perhaps best remembered for his 7 seasons with Liverpool, decided to take on the gruelling 16-hour swim challenge after meeting 14-year-old Isla Grist, who suffers from Dystrophic Recessive Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Dystrophic Recessive Epidermolysis Bullosa is a condition which causes the skin to tear or blister at the slightest touch, causing incredible pain for sufferers even when in seemingly innocuous situations.

Isla Grist football charity swim
Isla’s condition causes her skin to tear or blister at the slightest touch. Image credit: Inverness Courier

Isla, who is from the Black Isle, near Inverness, inspired Souness to take on the massive challenge of swimming the entire English channel with her own bravery every day.

She has suffered from the condition since birth, meaning that she has had to be wrapped from head to toe in bandages her whole life. The bandages are changed 3 times a week to ensure the teenager doesn’t suffer any other ailment as a result of protecting herself from this one.

Souness said of Isla “She’s just unbelievably courageous, brave and strong.”

“It is just the most horrendous disease and if you are affected by it you must wake up every morning and think, why me?”

Isla’s courage inspired Souness to take on the channel swim challenge for charity. Image credit: Daily Star

The former Liverpool captain is aiming to raise £1.1 million for the Debra charity. Debra supports Isla, as well as roughly 5,000 more around the UK who suffer from the incurable disease, which is often referred to as ‘butterfly skin’.

Isla’s Father, Andy, will be joining Souness on the 21-mile journey from the shores of England to those of France. The pair are raising money for the “A Life Free of Pain” appeal.

Graeme souness charity football
Graeme Souness will be joined by Isla’s Father, Andy on the 21-mile journey across the channel. Image credit: Debra

This cause is hoping to raise enough money to fund the Debra charity’s clinical drug tests which could improve the quality of life for people suffering from Dystrophic Recessive Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Isla’s father said of the disease “We need to get on top of this condition because it is brutal.”