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Growing up with arthritis

Arthritis is often thought of as an older person’s condition, or just an ‘ache or pain’, but this is so far from the truth.

My name is Catherine, and I work for Versus Arthritis. My role is all about helping to support and reach children with arthritis.

I myself was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) when I was 18 months old, so I have a personal connection with the project.

I know from my own experience it can be very hard growing up with arthritis, and I’m passionate about making a difference for those young people diagnosed today.

At Versus Arthritis we are doing everything we can to push back against arthritis, with the help of healthcare professionals, researchers, volunteers and friends.

We don’t want anyone to feel alone and offer a wide range of support services to young people and their families.

Our service helps to provide social and emotional support, as well as peer support opportunities through a variety of events.

Many of the young people who come along to our events have never met another young person with arthritis

Small interventions such as simply getting the young people together, meeting others like them, talking to them, learning from them, it makes such a difference.

It makes them feel less isolated, and allows them to share experiences, building positive relationships for the future.

We also try to prepare young people for when they move from child to adult health services, which can be a really tricky transition to navigate.

Last year we piloted an event called ‘Adulting with arthritis’ run by our young volunteers, which included sharing advice for all aspects of life as a young person.

Every time we host an event or help a new person to join our service, we see young people feeling less isolated, more confident about their future, and feeling more able to manage their condition.

We create a community for those young people

Without the money from BBC Children in Need we wouldn’t have been able to run such an amazing support service for children and young people with arthritis throughout the years.

I want to say a huge and resounding thank you to all those who support BBC Children in Need- our service has helped to improve the lives of thousands of young people and families living with arthritis.

Without your donations, we wouldn’t be able to provide this support and make the difference we make.

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