“Give it a TRI” Micro-Triathlon

ArthritisIreland -14A study from the UK, by Dr Stephen Messier, shows that for each pound of body weight lost, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee joint stress among overweight and obese people. Researchers say the results indicate that even modest weight loss may significantly lighten the load on your on your joints.

A cornerstone philosophy at Arthritis Ireland is “moving is the best medicine”. With this in mind, we have launched a unique initiative to engage the Irish public to get out and get active. The Micro-triathlon is the first of its kind in Ireland. It is open to everyone, of all ages and all exercise levels.

John Murray, RTÉ Radio One Presenter, commented: “This is a fantastic idea from Arthritis Ireland. I have been a strong advocate of the benefits of exercise for many years, and with the alarming statistics released from the WHO the Micro-Triathlon couldn’t come at a better time. Ireland has to reverse the ticking time bomb of obesity and the Micro-Triathlon is the ideal goal to help us achieve this.”

Stephanie Casey, Head of Community Development, said: “We know that exercise is the magic pill for arthritis and fibromyalgia. But for many people living with chronic pain, even a short walk can be a huge challenge. We have designed our Micro-Triathlon to suit everyone, whether they have arthritis or simply want to get fit over the summer months. We believe that everyone has the potential to be a Micro-Triathlete!”

The Micro-Triathlon involves a 3km run/walk, 3km cycle and three lengths of a pool/ 30-minute aqua-aerobics class. You can take part as an individual or as a team. It takes place to coincide with National Arthritis Week, on October 10th & 11th, at various locations around the county including Sportslink, Santry on Sunday 11th of October. Registration is €30 for a team and €15 for an individual entry. For more information log on to www.arthritisireland.ie/microtriathlon.

Minister Leo Varadkar goes Back To The School Yard,  in aid of Children with Arthritis 

Arthritis Ireland goes Back To The School Yard with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar – Image 2Children are often the forgotten face of Arthritis with over 1,000 children living with the condition in this country. Arthritis is often seen as an “old person’s disease” however, unfortunately it is also a chronic disease impacting on children and young people in Ireland with more and more cases appearing daily.

A recent online survey conducted by Arthritis Ireland found that over 40% of children diagnosed with arthritis were under 3 years of age and 37% of parents said the most difficult thing about their child having arthritis is the feeling of helplessness and inability to take away their pain. Children with arthritis face daily challenges that can severely impact their childhood, such as not being able to play outside in the school yard, brush their teeth or even hold their mothers hand. Children with arthritis also have to learn to manage their pain with some having injections 1-2 times a week, infusions and fortnightly hospital visits.

Paul Daly’s daughter, Fírinne, was diagnosed with Arthritis when she was only six years old. Paul said: “We were shocked when Fírinne was diagnosed, we didn’t even know children could get arthritis. We manage her condition as best we can but people don’t understand how bad things can get. Sometimes her joints are so swollen, inflamed and stiff. She is in so much pain a hug hurts.”

Arthritis Ireland is campaigning to change this perception with the help of Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. “Back To The School Yard” is a new campaign launched as they raise public awareness about Children with Arthritis and raise much-needed funds for support services to help children and their families. “Back To The School Yard” is a chance for people to organise a day of school yard games in their workplace or community and raise funds for Children with Arthritis.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health, said: Back To The School Yard is a great a idea for people to get involved in, as Arthritis Ireland raises much-needed funds and awareness for children living with Arthritis. And it also gives everyone an excuse to relive their childhood games.”

For more information log on to www.backtotheschoolyard.ie or call Emma on 01 6470205.

Children – the forgotten face of Arthritis

Arthritis Ireland goes Back To The School Yard with Devin Toner – Image 6Arthritis is often seen as an “old person’s disease” however, unfortunately it is also a chronic disease impacting on young people and children in Ireland with more and more cases appearing daily. There are over a 1,000 children living with the condition today in this country making them the forgotten face of Arthritis. A recent online survey conducted by Arthritis Ireland found that 41% of parents who have children living with the disease said their biggest fear was that their child won’t have a normal life into adulthood and 24% said they worry about their future. 70% of parents also said the most common response they get when they tell other adults their child has arthritis is amazement that the condition actually affects children in the first place.

Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologists in Europe per head of population with the waiting list for diagnosis of children suspected of having arthritis being in excess of two years which is a very worrying statistic according to Arthritis Ireland.

Irene Collins daughter, Grace, was diagnosed with Arthritis when she was only two-and-a-half years old. Irene said: “We were shocked when Grace was diagnosed. It is a condition she lives with daily and people don’t always get what that means and the harsh impact it has on her childhood. Sometimes she’s in so much pain she can’t even walk”.

Arthritis Ireland is campaigning to change this perception. Today, with the help of Irish & Leinster Rugby player Devin Toner, they launched a new campaign to raise public awareness about Children with Arthritis and raise much-needed funds for support services to help children and their families. “Back To The School Yard” is a chance for people to organise a day of school yard games in their workplace or community and raise funds for Children with Arthritis.

Devin Toner said: “I am delighted to be involved with this campaign as Arthritis Ireland raises much-needed funds and awareness for children living with Arthritis. “Back To The School Yard” is such a great idea to get people involved, who wouldn’t love to go back and relive their childhood games? We all have a competitive streak, not just me!”

For more information log on to www.backtotheschoolyard.ie or call Emma on 01 6470205.


Arthritis Ireland & Team RAD join together in the fight against arthritis.

Arthritis Ireland are delighted to announce a new partnership with Team RAD, (Racing with Autoimmune Disease) for the coming year.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

Kenny Bucke, Team RAD will take part in this years Working on a Cure Cycle on June 7th for Arthritis Ireland.

A cycling club for people with arthritis and other autoimmune conditions, Team RAD was established in autumn of 2014.

John Church, CEO of Arthritis Ireland said;

We are delighted to be supporting Team RAD. This partnership will help promote a positive message around Arthritis and that it can be managed effectively. We are firm advocates that regular exercise is a key part in managing a disease such as arthritis and that cycling, as a low impact sport, is a perfect fit.

As well as this members of Team RAD will be taking part in the Arthritis Ireland Working on a Cure Cycle in Wicklow on June 7th and will be raising funds to funds research into new treatments, and ultimately a cure for arthritis.

Team RAD was set up by Kenny Bucke, who first experienced symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) when he was 35.

“I want to show that you can still compete if you have an autoimmune condition. Training with a club like this means you’ll be with other people who understand your symptoms so we may have different ways of doing things.

I think that if you are into sports, you will find a way to do it. Even with arthritis. I hope that people will also look at our club and think that if we can cycle 100km with arthritis, then maybe they’ll think they can get out for a walk or go for a swim. It might motivate more people to get moving.”

 Over the course of the coming year, Arthritis Ireland and Team RAD will work together to increase awareness of Arthritis as a disease that affects younger people. They will also work together to promote cycling as a key part of managing their disease while looking to establish cycling groups, similar to the Arthritis Ireland walking groups.

As part of the partnership, the Arthritis Ireland logo will appear on Team RAD’s club kit which will further raise awareness at cycling events nationally of the partnership.

If you would like to take part in Arthritis Ireland’s Working on a Cure Cycle this June 7th, visit www.arthritisireland.ie  To find out more about Team RAD, visit www.racingwithautoimmunedisease.org

Find the Fundraising Activity that SUITS You in 2015, Public Urged

Arthritis Ireland launches its 2015 fundraising events calendar

“Find the fundraising activity that SUITS you in 2015!” – That was the message fromD16110-23 Cormac Ó’Raghallaigh (11), Emily Haughton (11), both of whom have arthritis, and her sister, Mya (4), as they called on the public to beat the January blues by taking on a fundraising activity in aid of people with arthritis.

At the launch of Arthritis Ireland’s Calendar of Events 2015, Cormac, Emily and Mya urged people to get down to business on their New Year’s resolutions by taking on a run, cycle, organise a bake sale or any activity they wish to raise badly-needed funds.

D16110-18Arthritis Ireland, Head of Fundraising, Emma Barrett, said: “With just 12% of our income coming from the State, Arthritis Ireland must raise the remaining 88% in order to provide vital services that people with arthritis need to take control of their disease in communities across the country. Arthritis affects almost 1 million people in Ireland, including more than 1,000 children like Cormac and Emily, and they are relying on the support of the public in 2015.”

Check out our Calendar of Events 2015.

For further information or to contact our fundraising team about the different activities to choose from, please call (01)6470205, email fundraising@arthritisireland.ie or visit www.arthritisireland.ie.

Bring your own words… (BYOW)

By Fiona Keegan, Helpline Coordinator

We had a call to the Helpline the other day that got me thinking.

Arthritis Ireland.  Photo Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography Copyright 2013.

Fiona Keegan, Helpline Coordinator

The caller had been recently diagnosed with arthritis but was using a term we had not heard before. Our volunteers are updating themselves on a continual basis and we pride ourselves on our knowledge base of ‘all things arthritis’.

However, from time to time someone will phone us with the name of a form of arthritis that they have been diagnosed with and that we haven’t yet come across on the helpline.

This gets our inquisitive minds going.  We start googling, pulling books from the shelves, inquiring of each other ‘has anyone heard of ………..?’  We will not rest until we find out more about this diagnosis so that we can add it to our bank of knowledge.

IMG_0562Of course a lot of the time this as yet unheard of diagnosis is in fact just a different name for a more common form of arthritis.  It is interesting how different names are used by different people for the same condition.

I am guessing that the GP’s and consuItants are using the medical names that they learned during their training and then these need to be translated into the more common words we use when talking about arthritis.

I suppose it’s a little bit like the names for common vegetables we all use.  Who knew the humble cabbage is actually called ‘brassica olerocea’ or the everyday carrot ‘daucus carota’, never mind the lettuce in our salad ‘lactuca sativa’.  Try asking for those in your local supermarket and see how far you get…  On the other hand we on the helpline welcome the unusual words people use for arthritis as much as we welcome the everyday ones.

A colleague of mine mentioned recently that she was going to a restaurant which helpline high reswas BYOW (bring your own wine).  I realised that it is not only restaurants that can use this acronym.  Our helpline is also a BYOW – ‘bring your own words’.  So please call us on 1890 252 846 Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and remember feel free to ‘bring your own words’.

Meghan’s Christmas Wish

Do you remember when you were a child on Christmas morning? Waking up early in the hope that Santa has arrived. Then, racing down the stairs and the sheer excitement of tearing off ChristmasMeghan-1 paper to reveal those shiny new toys?

For little Meghan, that’s not something she’s been able to cherish in her short life so far. Instead, her Christmas memories are of unbearable pain, noisy hospitals and scary injections.

Mairead describes her daughter as a “strong and determined little girl” so when she started crying with every movement, crying in her sleep, Mairead knew something was desperately wrong.

“It’s very hard to see your own child crying in pain; not knowing what is wrong and not being able to take that pain away,” Mairead says.

Meghan-&-MaireadAfter numerous tests in numerous hospitals, she and Meghan’s dad, Kevin, were reassured that their daughter had a viral infection that would pass in a number of weeks. Weeks passed. Meghan’s condition got worse. Mairead says that it was only when she was at breaking point – crying with frustration in the hospital – that she first heard about arthritis in children.

I found Arthritis Ireland’s number online and called them straight away. I told them my story, the hell we’d been through and fears we had. Immediately, they told me exactly what I needed to do to see an expert in the area.”

Within three weeks of that phonecall, Meghan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of juvenile arthritis.

After undergoing numerous procedures, including draining fluid from her joints and steroid injections, Meghan was started on high-tech biologic treatments to keep her disease under control.

“It was like a miracle,” Mairead says. “We saw an immediate improvement in her Meghan-&-Zoecondition and she was able to walk again. She has continued to improve and she is doing a lot better now.”

“When I look back now I know that phone call to Arthritis Ireland was the turning point. They gave me the direction to where I needed to go and the support and information to get there.”

This Christmas will be Meghan’s third and a special one for her entire family. Last year, she spent much of the festive period very ill in hospital. Thankfully, Meghan is doing better now and she is looking forward to joining her sister, Zoe, in tearing paper from presents on Christmas morning.

Meghan-2Will you make a special donation this Christmas to ensure that a child, like Meghan, receives the support they desperately need to control juvenile arthritis?

Donate online here now or call us on (01) 647 0205.