Until her school chose Reverse Rett as its charity to support in 2014, Rhea had never heard of Rett Syndrome. The condition mainly affects young girls, leaving them with disabilities and medical issues for life. Most people with the condition are unable to speak, walk or use their hands.
Rhea, 11, was struck by how awful it would be to lose the use of her hands, which would stop her painting. She says: “It really moved me and I thought painting is the thing I do best and the best way I can help.”
She resolved to paint a picture a day for 100 days and sell them to raise money for the charity.
Her first paintings were sold on a stall at Abbeville Fete in Clapham, South London, and in the first year she painted 171 pictures and sold 166, raising almost £4,000.
Rhea repeated her charity challenge the following two years and so far has raised £13,500 to help fund research into the condition.
She has also become an ambassador for Reverse Rett, and at the charity’s gala dinner last November one of her paintings fetched £1,200.
Rhea has forged a bond with a young Rett sufferer, Hannah Johnson. They have met at fetes and events but the young artist longs for the day when Hannah is well enough to spend more time with her.
She says: “I was really surprised how much my paintings sold for. That’s when I realised I definitely wanted to do more art to help children with Rett Syndrome.
“I will carry on until they find a cure and my friend Hannah can come to my house and talk to me and get to know me.
“They have already found a cure in mice and they are trying to find a cure in humans, so there is hope.”
Rhea, from Clapham, works on her canvases after finishing her homework and signs each one.
Her mum Roshan, 46, says: “Rhea has got us all working together as a family and she has opened our eyes to the need to help children with Rett Syndrome. She’s brought out the best in all of us.”
The proud mum adds: “The thing that makes me proudest is not how well she paints but the fact she has achieved something like this for a charity which I hope will one day find a cure.”
One of the most striking things about Rhea is that she was touched by the plight of other children she had never met. Her fundraising is totally altruistic, which is is phenomenal in a child of her age. What an amazing young lady.Pride of Britain judges