TWO big-hearted Kingsteignton friends have asked for money to be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital instead of birthday presents.

It is Mallika Zawadzka’s ninth birthday today and Keryn Holter’s tenth birthday on October 27.

Mallika has drug-resistant epilepsy and has spent most of her life travelling to London for treatment at the word-famous hospital – known as GOSH for short.

Her mum Justyna said: ‘I am so very proud of them both. The response to their appeal has been amazing and we’re all very happy and overwhelmed.

‘Mallika knows first-hand the importance of having the best care from Great Ormond Street. Keryn, along with other friends, supports Mallika on a daily basis and was deeply moved when she had a recent traumatic stay there.

‘Our beautiful children give us the best lessons about life. This appeal is teaching them that if we do something together, and people open their hearts as a community, we can do amazing things together. It’s not just bad things

happening in the world, we can do good things too.’

The two girls, from Rydon Primary School, have so far raised £350 from friends and family.

Mallika’s condition was discovered when she was just three weeks old.

Her mum added: ‘She’s been battling with epilepsy all her life, and going backwards and forwards to Great Ormond Street.

‘But she’s amazing. Even after a bad night of seizures she’s up in the morning keen to go to school and see her friends. Despite all she goes through she’s always smiling and always happy.’

Keryn wrote a poem in her birthday party invitations to help raise the money.

It said: ‘I am a very lucky girl and have everything I desire, but I know of other children who don’t have what they require. So instead of buying me a gift, your presence is all I ask for, but if you would like to make a donation I will be very grateful.’

If you would like to donate money to the girls’ appeal visit