My name is Ayden Soares and I am 10 years old. I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in the spring of 2014 and have over 10 joints that are affected. When diagnosed, my right wrist didn't move well and needed extra protection, and because of this my right arm had half the strength of my left. I couldn't even lift a piece of paper off the ground.
My mom gives me weekly low dose injections of Methotrexate (same drug used to treat cancer - Chemo) to attempt to manage the inflammation, but doing this makes me nauseous and suppresses my immune system. This means fighting a common cold will be harder for me to do. I take pain medication when needed to help me keep going in the day. I take Folic Acid pills weekly to help with the bone development and I take naproxen twice a day to also help with inflammation so that I can continue to go to school and try to enjoy the same activities my friends like to do. Because of these medications, my inflammation has come down, and as of April 14th, 2016....I am currently feeling arthritis free. Even though I don't feel it right now, it doesn't mean that my medication stop or that it can't come back. There is no cure and in order to maintain this feeling, I need to continue my medication to keep it at bay. I don't feel any pain right now and I'm so happy to feel like this. I never knew what it felt like to be pain free! I have to be careful though, because some things as simple as falling on the ground, getting sick and getting overly stressed can make it come back with fury. I want to be like all the other kids my age having fun without having to worry about what might happen to my joints.
It is very important for me to be as active as possible to keep my joints moving. Not moving makes me feel stiff, so I fidget often. I belong to an amazing Tae Kwon Do club called OMAC Martial Arts and I train there 3 days a week. I have had some exercises modified for me in the past since I couldn't bend my wrist well. They have helped play a big role in keeping me active and the attitude that I can do anything I put my mind to. I also love to play soccer and I swim as much as I can as it's a great activity that doesn't put so much stress on my joints.
Arthritis doesn't kill you, but you have to live with it your WHOLE LIFE! It's not fair for a child who has their whole life ahead of them having to be constantly medicated going through flare after flare.
There is no cure for arthritis – a painful and devastating disease - that is why I am participating in the Walk for Arthritis.
Today, more than 6 million Canadians are affected by arthritis. These numbers are only going to increase. By 2035, 1 in 4 Canadians will have arthritis. That means you or your wife, your mother or your brother just may have arthritis.
As the prevalence of arthritis increases, so does the demand for investment into cutting-edge research, proactive advocacy and innovative solutions that will deliver better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis.
It is very important for me to bring awareness to my friends, teachers and family so that everyone understands that Arthritis can affect anyone, not just the elderly and it is for this reason I participate in the Walk to Fight Arthritis. Please help and support my campaign and donate. Thank you for helping me #kickarthritis!