As Shona Just (16 ) returns to school this week she will find that simple things such as mixing with friends, socialising, and playing sports are proving more difficult. Having been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and lupus since she was 10 years old Shona continues to be in a lot of pain, taking steroids and receiving intensive treatment for her condition.
Shona’s mum Mary takes her to hospital appointments and constantly cares for her alongside Shonas’s three other siblings. Her father Terry is about to embark on a countywide cycle on September 26, alongside 80 other bikers from the Mayo Bats, Bikes and Trikes Club, to support Arthritis Ireland's JAsper campaign to raise awareness of and funds for children with arthritis in Ireland.
The JAsper campaign aims to raise funds to assist up to 1,000 children and their families in Ireland today who are severely restricted with juvenile arthritis. The campaign will help fund information booklets, including a a storybook about a boy with arthritis, for children between four to eight years. Parents and young adults can obtain any of these leaflets by calling 1890 252846. Parent2Parent Network links parents of children living with JA to provide support and encouragement to each other and by connecting those affected with Arthritis Ireland’s online networking and supports.
Terry said of his forthcoming challenge that along with the other cyclists he is hoping to raise awareness and funds for the arthritis campaign. The race will commence in Castlebar at Tesco at 9.30am and will finish back in the town at around 4pm after stopping through nine other towns where collectors will be present to receive donations.
National Arthritis Week runs from October 12 to 23 and Arthritis Ireland is calling on people nationwide to sell JAsper pins during the week to make a real and significant difference to the lives of children living with this chronic disease. If you would like to make a difference, log onto www.arthritisireland.ie, contact Caroline on 01 647 0209 or e-mail [email protected].