By Conor Darcy
When I was 7 years old I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Before this I was a really active child like every 7 year old should be. As the disease got worse I would become more and more determined to be as active as possible, but unfortunately sometimes it was just impossible to be active at all. From playing football for four hours in a day to bed-ridden the next, the constant transitions from pain to games and back again made life very unpredictable.
Around 2005 I was admitted into hospital for an indefinite amount of time, the first time this had happened since diagnosed in 2001. With symptoms becoming progressively worse and more symptoms occurring which wouldn’t be generally associated with JA it was unsure completely what was happening. Eventually I was diagnosed with Macrophage-Activation Syndrome a rare disease that would be associated with JA. Once the problem was discovered I was treated by a great team of doctors and was on the road to full recovery.
After this my overall quality of life improved and I vowed to always be as active as possible. I became a member of three extra sports teams rather than my previous one. But with this I always wanted to push more and do things I would have never been able to do prior, even on my best days.
So I decided to reach for the sky, and back again! A skydive for Arthritis Ireland was the ultimate ambition. Before I was unable to do things that were everyday occurrences, now I wanted to do things that were once in a life opportunities. In July 2011 I decided to take the Jump for JA. The adrenaline and the sense of accomplishment in doing it is an unbeatable feeling. By doing the skydive I proved to myself that with determination and endurance, JA – no matter how much it tried – would never take control of my life.
I do believe everyone should stay as active as possible. If on days you feel unable to run you should still walk. If on days you feel you unable to walk be determined to walk tomorrow! Everyone should aim to their limits and beyond them, that’s why if you feel you could jump why not out of a plane? Why not jump for JA?
With a Jump for JA you will be helping to change the experience of children with this debilitating condition. Click here if you would like to find out more about taking a Jump for JA.