To mark the beginning of Childhood Arthritis Month, The Arthritis Society announced today that it will create a summer camp or family day in every region across Canada by 2015. These events, available now in some provinces, help children and families facing arthritis connect with one another and create a sense of community.
“One of the biggest challenges a child living with arthritis faces is the relative rarity of the disease,” says Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “Often there will be no one else in their school or even their community living with the same disease. For a young person who is just developing their social identity, it can be a lonely and stressful experience.”
The Arthritis Society estimates that up to 24,000 Canadian children and teens live with arthritis, a disease that does not discriminate by age. Childhood arthritis disrupts a young person’s social life, physical activity, schoolwork, sleep and overall quality of life.
Faith Gladwin, 13, took part in The Society’s “Camp JoinTogether” in Nova Scotia in 2012 and 2013. “For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. I wasn’t the slow kid, or the kid who got to use a laptop at school because ‘her hands hurt.’ I was one of the many ordinary people.”
“You know it is a powerful experience when your daughter tells you that camp was better than Disney,” says Faith’s mother Angela. “Faith talked about it for days and days, and the friendships she created were some of the deepest and most honest that she’s ever experienced.”
Stacey Villeneuve is glad to hear the programs are being extended across Canada. She and her daughter Coralie, age 10, have attended the annual Family Day in Ottawa as well as other programs offered by The Society to support and educate children and families facing arthritis. “We both enjoyed meeting other families whose children also had arthritis. Having the support of people who are going through the same thing has been its own kind of therapy.”
Children and teenagers can be affected by a variety of forms of arthritis, any of which can have potentially devastating effects on developing bodies. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is the most frequently diagnosed form, but lupus, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis and other forms are also found.
To learn more about arthritis in children and teens, or to help support research and programs targeted to childhood arthritis, visit www.arthritis.ca/childhood.
ABOUT THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY
The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada’s principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing more than $185 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit www.arthritis.ca.
- 30 -
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
National Manager, Communications – The Arthritis Society
tel: 416-979-7228 x3348