JIA Awareness Week 2022

12 June 2022

JIA Awareness Banner #SameJIADifferentDay

NRAS and JIA-at-NRAS are pleased to announce our first ever JIA Awareness Week (JIA AW) is taking place on 13th to 17th June 2022.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of JIA and eliminate the misconceptions held by many about what JIA is. During JIA Awareness Week we hope to educate and inform friends, family, schools, employers as well as the general population about JIA and it’s impact on all aspects of a young person’s life. JIA is very different to other forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis (OA), in that JIA can strike at any age under 16 and around half of those children diagnosed each year will have the condition throughout their lives. It is an auto-immune disease, which means that in addition to affecting the joints, it can impact internal organs and quite commonly the eyes. There are serious consequences to getting a late diagnosis or a lack of targeted appropriate treatment.

During conversations with parents, children and adults living with JIA, a common theme kept coming up which is ‘why can’t people understand that JIA is a fluctuating condition?’ It can be very frustrating to keep explaining this regularly and can lead to discrimination in schools and employment. Some days, those living with JIA can do most things for example play football, cook, go for a run, however other days can be a struggle to even get out of bed, climb the stairs at school or go to work. Due to the lack of understanding of this disease, some children have had teachers, friends and relatives asking them if they are faking it. They have said, ‘We need to help teachers to understand how unpredictable and fluctuating the disease is from day to day, I’m not lying about my symptoms, they change.

During JIA Awareness week we want to show that even for those living with JIA whose disease is reasonably well controlled with medications, still no two days are the same. The theme of the week therefore is #SameJIADifferentDay.

“I am so excited to be part of the first-ever JIA Awareness Week. We need more people to understand that children can be diagnosed with arthritis, it is not an old person’s condition, and JIA is an autoimmune disease. Living with JIA myself and being a parent of a child with JIA as well as regularly communicating with others living with it, I know that we can thrive in life; we just need society to understand that no two days are the same”
Debbie Wilson, NRAS' Young Persons' Project Manager

Throughout the week we will be sharing videos and stories on our social media platforms, so please do get involved by sharing and using the hashtag #SameJIADifferentDay and #JIAAW2022. The more stories we get out there, the more people can understand the condition. Speak to your schools and your employers as well, share our videos with them. We want more people to understand what someone goes through each day living with JIA!

“People’s misconceptions about inflammatory arthritis can be just as debilitating as the condition itself. All children and young people living with JIA should be given the right support and understanding to live life to the full. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all those involved in raising awareness during this week – the paediatric rheumatology teams, the Young Voices volunteers, the families, and children/young people themselves. By sharing their stories, we are taking JIA out of the shadows”
Clare Jacklin, NRAS CEO

Visit https://jia.org.uk/jia-awareness-week for more information.

JIA Awareness Week 2022 | 13th – 17th June