Children 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.