Arthritis – anyone, any age

Press Release – Arthritis New Zealand

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age thats the message of Arthritis New Zealands annual appeal this week.. Arthritis is not just an old persons disease. Half the 624,000 Kiwis with arthritis are of working age and around one in 1,000 …

Arthritis – anyone, any age

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age – that’s the message of Arthritis New Zealand’s annual appeal this week..
Arthritis is not just an old person’s disease. Half the 624,000 Kiwis with arthritis are of working age and around one in 1,000 children has arthritis.

Jacob Toresen was one of them. He was just like any other active, sports-mad Kiwi kid when he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at the age of 11.

Life changed completely. Jacob woke up screaming in pain every night and he was no longer able to do many of the things he enjoyed.

He worried that because he was young and had few physical symptoms, people might think he was faking his condition just to get time off school. In fact, there were endless blood tests, doctor’s appointments, physio sessions, and the exhausting process of trying one medication after another to find one that worked.

Arthritis New Zealand’s annual Children’s Camp was an eye-opener for Jacob. There he was free to enjoy all sorts of physical activities, while his mum learnt all she could about his condition and talked with other parents.

“It was unbelievably beneficial to me and my mum. I wasn’t alone and I had the proof right in front of me. I could see that just because I had arthritis, it didn’t mean I couldn’t have fun.”

Now aged 19 and studying law, Jacob still attends camp every year to support and encourage other children and their families.

He’s grateful to Arthritis New Zealand, along with his friends, family and medical team for helping him live as close to an ‘arthritis-free life’ as possible.

“I wouldn’t change it for the world; it is part of me and my life… I’m not alone in this journey and being diagnosed with arthritis is not the end of the world; rather, it’s a bump in the road that can be overcome. I’ve learnt that I can still have a normal life.”

Help us make a difference for the Kiwi children and young people affected by arthritis. Look out for our collectors on 22 and 23 September. You can also donate on our website www.arthritis.org.nz or give $20 by dialling 0900 333 20.

Arthritis New Zealand aims to improve the life of every person affected by arthritis. We are a national not-for-profit organisation focused on raising awareness, advocating for those with arthritis and providing advice and support. For more information, phone the helpline 0800 663 463, find us on Facebook or visit www.arthritis.org.nz

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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