A student will be kayaking 12 miles across the River Thames next month to raise awareness of a rare genetic brain disorder.

Zara Myers, 20, from High Barnet, will be joined by her boyfriend Daniel Solomon, 22, from Stanmore, for the Regatta London event on September 29 in aid of Rett UK.

Zara’s sister Melanie lives with Rett Sydrome – a rare disorder which affects brain development resulting in severe mental and physical disability.

Melanie, 24, is unable to walk or talk and requires 24/7 care. She lives independently with two other people at a home run by the charity Norwood.

Zara, who studies English at the University of Leeds, said: “My sister always has a beaming smile on her face despite daily tasks being a huge challenge. She is still able to live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle with enabling technology, such as eye-gaze, which gives her the opportunity to communicate.”

The eye-gaze technology allows Melanie to effectively choose something or tell someone how she feels by looking at one particular icon or option on a computer.

Rett is a severe, lifelong neurological disorder, and signs of Rett commonly appear during early stages of childhood. The syndrome can develop in stages. It mainly affects females.

Zara added: “As well as raise money for Rett, me and Dan feel it is important to raise awareness. With the help of Rett UK, families and carers are able to learn how to use the latest technology (such as eye-gaze) and other ways to communicate with their family member living with Rett syndrome.

“The kayak will be a big challenge for us because neither of us are experienced at it. Hopefully it will be fun but it will be difficult. We saw an advert for Regatta London and Rett shared a post about it so we just decided to go for it.”

Zara and Dan have already passed their target of £500, raising more than £700 for Rett UK. If you would like to donate, visit https://bit.ly/33tJPBa