Twenty-five children with arthritis and their parents had a wonderful time at our Children’s Camp last month.

One of the major benefits for families is that they can meet others and share their experience of living with arthritis. “I’m not alone anymore,” said one parent.

Some of the children, aged from 6 years to 14 years, had never met another child their age with arthritis and were still coming to terms with its effects. Most had been diagnosed with arthritis in the last two years and their parents talked about the shock of being told their child has a condition normally associated with old age. They shared a range of emotions – bewilderment, denial, anger, and most of all, wondering why.

The annual camp combines learning sessions for children and parents with lots of fun and the opportunity to make new friends and spend time together.

There is no known cause for arthritis in children but the condition doesn’t need to hold children back or mean they have to abandon their dreams; it just means rethinking how to realise those dreams.

The youth leaders and teenagers who have grown up with arthritis played a valuable role at camp. They talked to parents about what it was like for them, and provided fantastic role models for the children.

“Thank you Arthritis New Zealand,” said one parent. “You’ve changed our lives.”

Sophie, Julia and Tasmyn enjoy the foam slide


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