Kids Support

March 31st, 2016
Kids Support
Who do you think of when you hear the word arthritis? For many people the answer is the elderly, but what you may not know is that this debilitating disease can affect anyone at any age.

For 22 year old Hills resident Sarah Hammond, this disease has been a part of her life from day one.

Living in pain for her whole life, having four near death experiences and relying on medication to stay alive, Sarah is a fighter.

After being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 18 months and struggling to survive for 22 years, the effects of the disease have been very serious.

Arthritis of the eye (Uvites) has caused her to become blind in one eye, sometimes she struggles to move around and needs the aid of a wheelchair or crutches and each day she wakes up thinking “will I be able to reach my feet to put my shoes and socks on?”

It is a scary and non curable disease that millions of people suffer with each and every day.

“It is tough, you have those really bad days but you just have to keep going, that's what I have been telling myself all my life,” Sarah said.

“I want to make the most of each day because I don't know if I will be able to do the things I do today tomorrow.”

Arthritis affects the musculosketal system, specifically where two or more bones meet and causes pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage and surrounding structure.

This can lead to joint weakness, instability and deformities that can make the basic daily tasks of walking, driving a car and preparing food a struggle.

According to statistics from leading researcher Access Economics, by 2050 7 million Australians will suffer from some form of arthritis.

At the mere age of 20 Sarah decided it was time to use her experiences and knowledge to support others in her situation, creating her own organisation Kids Arthritis.

Having grown up receiving little to no support for her very serious case of Arthritis, Sarah wanted to make sure there was something out there for those going through this fight.

“I want to make sure children and their families have the support needed to live with arthritis – I wish there had been something like this available for me when I was younger,” Sarah said.

“Not many people know much about juvenile arthritis or how serious it can be and yet there are around 7,000 children in Australia suffering from this disease.”

For mother Kristy Hoare the struggle to find support for her 12 year old daughter Emily has also been very difficult.

After being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis last year, Emily and her mother were provided with no support and no information on how to cope with the debilitating disease.
It was then that Kristy looked to the internet for support and was thrilled when she came across Kids Arthritis.

“Kids Arthritis is just amazing, it is so great to have someone to talk to that has been through it all and knows what it is like,” she said.

“It is different to other organisations because of Sarah's personal experience with the disease – she knows what needs to happen and what support there should be.”

“I strongly encourage parents of kids with arthritis to get in contact with Sarah – it is a fantastic organisation,”

“But just remember that it is okay to cry – it is tough and we all go through those bad days.”

For the past two years Sarah has been working hard to build the organisation and on May 28 it will all come together at the official launch celebration at Auchendarroch House.

From then on the organisation will be full steam ahead, holding events and functions for children and their families, providing support groups both in person and online and undertaking community group and school visits.

This debilitating disease has left Sarah struggling to find work, with most people not fully understanding the effects of arthritis.

Sarah wants to support those people who are also finding it hard to secure themselves a job and give them the opportunity to be a part of the organisation.

“I would love to get more volunteers, we are a not for profit organisation and receive no funding from the government so any help is greatly appreciated,” Sarah said.

Unlike other organisations, Kids Arthritis is run by a group of volunteers who themselves have been effected by Arthritis is some way, whether it be a family member, friend or sufferers on their own journey.

“Everyone has first hand experience of what it is like to live with this disease, I don't think any other organisation can say that,” Sarah said.

“Most of the volunteers are also female as the majority of people suffering from arthritis are also female.”

Sarah is extremely passionate about the organisation and hopes it will make a difference to those suffering.

“This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, it is my dream to help people that are suffering and the more I talk about the organisation the more it sinks in how big it actually is,” she said.

“I just hope that the question 'do children get arthritis?' never gets asked again.”

The official launch of the Kids Arthritis will take place at Auchendarroch House on May 28 at 7pm.

To reserve your spot for the event contact Sarah at launch@kidsarthritis.org or visit http://www.eventbrite.com/kidsarthritisofficallaunch

Back  Back

The Weekender Herald

The Weekender Herald aims to provide the best print medium for our clients to achieve the maximum exposure for their messages to our readers and their potential clients within our targeted area.

The Weekender Herald is an independent, innovative, good-news paper serving the Adelaide Hills and Mt Barker council areas. Founded in 1992, the paper is the leader in providing up-to-date, relevant lifestyle content. It seeks to maximise its appeal and relevance to readers and consumers on behalf of its advertisters.