Never too young to make a difference
We were blown away when we heard about 7 year old Leighton and what he was doing to raise awareness of juvenile arthritis. Having seen his younger brother go through diagnosis and treatment for JIA, Leighton started making posters to raise awareness of this condition which affects one in a thousand children.
Sometimes JIA can be an invisible condition and people don’t see the daily struggles that children with JIA face. As well as coping with the pain that their condition causes, there is a lot more to cope with too from medications (often as injections) and regular blood tests as well as a plethora of other tests, scans and x-rays. Then there are the side-effects of the medication which can be very unpleasant. Having a child with JIA in the family can be tough on all family members with so much time spent at appointments and getting to grips with a “new normality”.
Leighton's brother, Jordan is now 5 years old and when he was first diagnosed was found to have arthritis in 17 of his joints. He struggled to bear any weight on his legs and had to have steroid injections under general anaesthetic as well as starting on disease modifying drugs. He now needs biologic injections twice a week to keep his arthritis under control.
Having seen his brother go through all this, Leighton wanted to make a difference. So he decided to do a sponsored walk to raise funds for Juvenile Arthritis Research charity and has managed to raise over £400 to help children with JIA. These vital funds will be used towards searching for a cure for juvenile arthritis, and our awareness and support work.
What is incredible about Leighton’s story is that despite his young age, he wanted to help his brother and he wanted to help others so he took it upon himself to do something by making those posters.
It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a “grown-up” to make a difference. You don’t have to be in a position of power. You don’t have to be a famous celebrity. You CAN make a big difference right now, no matter who you are and how old you are.
Leighton, we are incredibly proud of you and your brothers and what you have done! We know your family and friends are super proud of you too. Well done! Keep making a difference to the world – you are amazing!
You can find Leighton’s fundraising page on Facebook here and it remains open for donations for a few more days.
“Thank you if you’re donating, I hope it makes lots of children happy, love from Leighton” (age 7)
If you have been inspired by Leighton’s story and want to make a difference in your community to raise awareness of JIA, please get in touch.