Eighteen-year-old Tristan-Perry (TP) Moananu of Miramar, Wellington is one of more than 670,000 people with arthritis. An autoimmune disease called lupus causes his arthritis and mostly affects him during Winter, which happens to be rugby season.
TP was diagnosed in at age 13, but the diagnosis has not stopped him from doing the things he enjoys. He is a busy teenager who doesn’t let lupus get in his way if he can help it. As well as playing rugby, TP is also a Pasifika leader and prefect at Wellington College, a Harlberg Council Member, and a Parafed member. Rugby is his favourite activity and says his mum gets him through the tough days.
“Mum waits on the sideline with a hot drink, warm gears and a blanket to help keep my joints warm in Winter. I have supportive family and friends, and my coaches understand that when I need to rest, I need to rest. I pushed it too far before, and that didn’t end well.”
In March this year, TP attended the Arthritis New Zealand Children’s Camp in Matamata as a teen team leader. The weekend included a day of team leadership training with other teens as well as a full weekend helping lead younger children with arthritis through their schedule of activities and learning.
“TP is a wonderful addition to this year’s camp. He demonstrated good leadership skills and set a good example to his peers,” said Arthritis New Zealand CE Philip Kearney.
Overall, TP is happy with the health support he receives for his lupus. “I’m well looked after by an awesome team of doctors. I’ve always had access to them at any time. “I come from a family of faith, hope and love. I’m lucky I haven’t been left alone in what I’m going through. I’m able to talk, share my feelings and have the support I need.” The most important things he learned from having lupus are patience, self-care and know his limits.
What is lupus?
Lupus, also called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus affects the joints and skin, but it can also damage other internal systems such as kidneys, brain, blood, heart and lungs.
How can you help people like TP?
By donating to Arthritis New Zealand you are helping to provide to people with arthritis, at no cost to them:
- An 0800 helpline with direct access to trained, professional arthritis educators, ready to provide advice on living well with arthritis.
- Access to seminars, webinars and other online support channels where people with arthritis can ask questions, find out useful information, and share experiences and tips with others.
- An annual camp for young children with arthritis. This is set up exclusively as a fun environment where they, and a parent, can learn all about how to manage the condition.
- National advocacy on behalf of all people with arthritis. Everyday things such as food and beverage packaging can be challenging for people with arthritis to deal with. Your gift will help fund the ongoing campaign to make packaging more accessible to people with arthritis.
If you have arthritis – call us. We’ll help! (0800 663 463)
If you know someone with arthritis – support us. You’ll help!