Arthritis 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.