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Eleven year old Sam was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) at the age of 9. After several months of visits to the doctor, Sam was eventually diagnosed with JIA.
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It is thanks to you – our donors and supporters – that we can be there for children and young people affected by JIA. Will you help a child like Sam receive the gift of hope this Christmas?

Eleven year old Sam was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) at the age of 9. After several months of visits to the doctor, Sam was eventually diagnosed with JIA. Michaela, Sam's mum, shares his story below.

"Most of all, Juvenile Arthritis Research gave us hope."

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One night, Sam woke up in the night to tell me how painful his knee was. The doctors thought it was just an injury and we were sent away and told that it may take weeks to heal. Sam’s knee didn’t appear to get any better – in fact his left ankle became swollen too.

After many more visits to the doctor where we were told to wait and give it time to heal, we managed to get a referral to a consultant. The first consultant we saw didn’t even look at Sam’s ankle. It was only after managing to get a second opinion that we were eventually referred to rheumatology.

As parents we were confused, worried and completely frustrated. I spent hours and hours on the phone trying to get Sam the care he needed. Sam had mornings where he couldn’t walk for hours. If he tried to walk, he would have to hold on to things to support him as he hobbled from one piece of furniture to the next. Sam is usually very active, always out on the farm or enjoying the trampoline, football and running around. We knew something was wrong but had no idea what. It was heartbreaking to see him struggling so much.

Once we received the diagnosis of oligoarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, we were absolutely stunned; we had no idea children could get arthritis or how serious it could be. That day was one of our worst days. I felt so anxious. I was worried for Sam and what the future would bring. I had a list of questions and no-one to ask.

Finding Juvenile Arthritis Research was absolutely amazing and I will always be grateful to the teacher who first told us about the charity. Juvenile Arthritis Research has helped our family in millions of ways. From the exceptional information on the website, to the volunteers who answered question after question and reassured me.

They helped me to understand technical terms I’d never heard of before and explained everything from blood test results to medication, to flares, injections, the impact of chicken pox, uveitis, as well as giving me guidance and helpful tips.

Most of all, Juvenile Arthritis Research gave us hope. They gave us hope that Sam can live a good life despite the challenges of having JIA. I needed that reassurance. They helped me focus on the positive and put all the negatives into perspective.

When Sam received a Little Box of Hope from Juvenile Arthritis Research, it helped him realise that there are other children out there with JIA. The books and information included in the support pack helped Sam understand his condition and explain it to others.

Having access to meaningful information and someone with personal experience, who had the patience, understanding and a willingness to give up their own valuable time was a

Because JIA can be an invisible illness, it made it hard for school to fully understand. The School Toolkit pack from Juvenile Arthritis Research was brilliant and helped the school understand Sam’s condition.

Sam is doing well at the moment on his new medication. He is absolutely able to do all the things he loves; he plays the guitar and drums, plays football, skateboarding, going to music gigs, helping on the farm and looking after animals.

I will be forever grateful to Juvenile Arthritis Research and I will never be able to thank them enough for the support they have given us.

Michaela, Sam's mum

You can give the gift of hope this Christmas. Please donate what you can this Christmas- click here to make a donation today.