Eight-year-old Aidan Langley, of Bakersfield, CA, has been selected as one of 10 representatives for the Arthritis Foundation’s 10th Annual Amgen California Coast Classic Bike Tour. Why is an 8-year old in an arthritis event you ask? Because Aidan has Childhood – or Juvenile – Arthritis.
You certainly wouldn’t expect a child too young to go to kindergarten to have arthritis, but the truth is that 1 out of every 1,000 children up to the age of 16 are diagnosed with Childhood Arthritis.
This September biking event – 525 miles down the coast of California – helped raise funds to support children like Aidan, who puts a face to this disease.
Aidan was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age 4, after three years of doctor visits without a definitive diagnosis. Polyarticular means he is affected in five or more joints.
His parents said they first realized something was wrong when Aidan was a toddler and started pulling his hands away when they helped him wash his hands. His feet hurt, too, and then his knees started swelling.
When Aidan started school and was teased by the other children, the physical pain he experienced was increased with emotional pain as well. That’s when his parents turned to the Arthritis Foundation for help, which provided printed information to the school and Aidan’s teachers, helping them all understand what Aidan was going through.
It seems incomprehensible that this “old age” disease attacks youngsters, but it does and it’s important for you parents to know some of the symptoms and see your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns:
- Joint Symptoms – swelling and painful to the touch.
- Fever – spiking fevers once or twice a day lasting at least 2 weeks.
- Rash – can accompany the fever and is seen everywhere on the body except the face, palms and bottoms of the feet.
- Limited Movement – most children are very active, so if yours doesn’t want to move around, or shows signs of discomfort or pain on movement, that’s a red flag.
Added to the normal problems of suffering from arthritis, these children are also at a time when they are in school and learning how to write. That’s where my ergonomic, comfort-grip pen can make a remarkable difference. When a child’s small hand that is crippled with arthritis grips my UGLee Pen, the result is a relaxed hand with an easy ability to write in flowing letters. This is a small thing that can make a huge difference to Childhood Arthritis sufferers. Comfort-grip pencils are in the works, too, and will go a long way toward helping these little tykes in school.
(Photo credit bakersfield.com)