Through my blog I want to share some amazing charities friends of mine and my followers are involved in. This isn’t to try and get everyone to donate money, however if you want to I will try and give the information to do so, but my aim is to highlight and make you aware of some of those charities that aren’t so famous and don’t get the recognition.
Today’s blog is inspired by my friend Christine and her gorgeous daughter Eva, you might remember her from my earlier blog https://mylifemyblogzane.wordpress.com/tag/mua/.
Christine’s eldest daughter Eva is 3 and suffers from arthritis, something you would typically associate with old people. Before I met Eva, I had never heard of it in children before. Around 12,000 children in the UK suffer from this painful condition, painful inflammation and swelling in the joints, making it difficult at times and most definitely painful to get through day to day life.
How this condition first effected Christine as a mother
“When Eva was about six months old, I recall her feet looking funny, but as a first time mum I presumed this would be something she would grow out of. By the time Eva was one, she had not yet learned to walk which was very worrying. She eventually began to walk at 13 months but she was very wobbly on her feet. I tried to brush this off by telling myself this was normal but in my heart I had a feeling that something was wrong.”
“When Eva got her first pair of shoes, her granny insisted that they didn’t fit right as she couldn’t walk in them. I felt so bad that I took her straight back to the shop to get her feet re-measured but there was no issue with the sizing of the shoe. Eva carried on hobbling until she was 18 months old. the slightest fall made her cry like she was in great pain and it broke my heart to see all her friends running around when she could not.
The struggle to get a diagnosis
Desperate to find out what was actually wrong with Eva, Christine contacted her Health Visitor who referred Eva to Scrabo Chrildren’s Hospital for physiotherapy. The fear was that Eva was suffering from a form of childhood arthritis, which affect children under the age of 16 and is most commonly referred to as JIA – Juvenile Idiopathis Arthritis.
What is JIA?
According to Arthritis Research UK, JIA can be described as . . .
- J – Juvenile means that the arthritis begins before the age of 16
- I – Idiopathic means that the causes are unknown
- A- arthritis means that one or more joints are inflamed
For more information on this condition from Arthritis Reasearch UK, follow this link http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/young-people/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis.aspx?gclid=CI3R6-St_LUCFePHtAodbyMAfg
How a diagnosis impacted on the family
Christine was relieved that finally she had got a diagnosis for Eva’s condition, however she felt devastated when her ‘beautiful’ baby girl has been diagnosed with such a life changing condition. She knew that her family now faced ‘a long struggle ahead’ to help Eva cope with her arthritis. However help and support was at hand.
Christine regularly visits Musgrave Park Hospital with Eva for check-ups. Although she is overly cautious and constantly worries about Eva falling or being knocked over, she is learning to be more relaxed. As an outsider myself watching how Christine is as a mother to Eva she is amazing, and hides her anxieties well around Eva, she is very calm and relaxed and Eva is an amazingly happy go lucky little girl who you would never know suffers form this condition!
A charity lifeline
“A real lifeline for our family came when Musgrave Park Hospital advised us about the Family and Youth Work Service which Arthritis Care NI ( http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/InyourArea/NorthernIreland?gclid=CNL3gf6y_LUCFYbHtAodvhoA4Q ) provides. They do loads of different things for families who have a child with arthritis. They take the children to the panto every year and run different fun days which is great as it’s often the only chance they have to meet other children with arthritis. They take the older children on adventure weekends where they are able to canoe, rock climb and generally try out activities that they may not have thought they could do because of their condition.”
“Arthritis Care’s Parent Support Group, JOINTZ, http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/@2973/NorthernIreland/Familyyouthwork/JOINTZ also hosts family support days to help parents cope with the impact of their child having arthritis. My family has really appreciated the support we receive from Arthritis Care NI as do all the other families. However, all this support costs money.”
How Christine is supporting Arthritis Care NI
Already Christine has abseiled down the Europa Hotel in Belfast to raise money for the charity, a whopping £900.
However she has set her sights heigher for her second charity challenge if you will excuse the pun, she is planning a skydive from 9,000 feet!!! This is all part of the charity’s Adrenaline Challenge Year http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/InyourArea/NorthernIreland/Fundraising/adrenaline-challenge-year.
If you would like to show your support . . .
“Anyone who has even one or two pounds to spare can donate to help me reach her target and provide vital support to children struggling to cope with arthritis. I would be very grateful.”
You can donate to Christine’s fundraiser at her justgiving page on www.justgiving.com/ChristineDougan1
Another way to show your support would be to share this blog with your friends and family! You can re-blog it, share the link (i.e. the http://www at the top or bottom of your screen) on your Facebook or Twitter etc.
To follow Arthritis Care NI on Facebook here is the link https://www.facebook.com/ArthritisCareNorthernIreland
If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or to share with us your opinions or experiences on this blog. Both Christine and I would love too hear from you!