Running 250 miles to find a cure for juvenile arthritis

Alex Shrimpton (aged 26), a member of Hope Church Tonbridge, is running a phenomenal 250 miles over two weeks to raise awareness of juvenile arthritis, and to raise money to help find a cure for the horrible disease.

From 23 September to 7 October 2018, Alex will be completing an average of 18 miles every day in addition to his job as a carer for which he commutes to Winchester. His run will culminate in the Tonbridge half-marathon on 7 October.

Alex is hoping to raise awareness of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) – a painful autoimmune disorder that affects around 15,000 children and young people under the age of 16 in the UK. JIA is not the same as either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis (which are more commonly associated with older people). Without adequate treatment, JIA can lead to other health conditions as the immune system attacks other organs, as well as permanent disability and long-term health implications.

At present, there is no cure for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. All current treatments seek to reduce the symptoms of JIA, but are not a cure. Whilst these treatments have beneficial effects in reducing pain and inflammation, and provide some protection against long-term joint damage, they come with their own side-effects and impinge on long-term health of children taking these medications. In around half of all cases, children go into spontaneous remission. But in the other half, they are confined to taking powerful drugs long-term, with all the side-effects and complications that causes.

Alex will also be raising money for Juvenile Arthritis Research, a charitable project aimed at finding a cure for the disease. With the support and endorsement of leading academic researchers, the JAR project works independently to analyse data and information from a wide range of different scientific disciplines and research fields. By bringing together the disparate sources of information, they believe that they will be able to piece together the clues necessary to fully understand the disorder and develop a cure.

Alex says: “I have chosen to run for Juvenile Arthritis Research, as I am friends with a family who have the bravest little girl, Trinity, who is 6 years old and has had JIA since she was two. Unfortunately, however, she needs ongoing chemotherapy treatment to enable her to walk. Trinity still has a long way to go in her treatment but there are thousands of children left to help. If anyone can help donate I would be most grateful, regardless of how big or small.”

Richard Beesley, the founder of Juvenile Arthritis Research, says: “When Alex told us he wanted to run 250 miles in just two weeks to raise awareness and much-needed funds for our research, I was amazed. Juvenile arthritis is a horrible disease, and there are thousands of children and young people suffering from its effects. We are committed to finding a cure, and are so grateful to Alex for taking on this incredible challenge for us.”

Please help Alex support Juvenile Arthritis Research as they search for a cure for juvenile arthritis - a crippling and painful autoimmune disease. You can give online at You can also follow his progress on the Juvenile Arthritis Research social media channels.