Services & programs benefit thousands of children living with arthritis
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 4:42PM ADT
The Arthritis Society has become an important part of Connor Corkum’s life. He was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis when he was just 12 years old.
“I was playing football at the time, just minor league football, and my father who was also the coach was noticing that I was limping a lot,” Corkum tells CTV News.
Corkum says he found it hard to believe he had arthritis at such a young age.
‘It was more a lot of shock and displacement,” Corkum recalls. “I felt like there was something really wrong with me, but I didn’t know at the time that I could get through something like that.”
Corkum hasn’t stopped doing the things he loves. He stays active and takes advantage of the resources available through The Arthritis Society. He has attended Camp Join Together for the past seven years.
“It’s just a general summer camp but it’s kind of tailored toward kids that might not be as active or could be wheelchair bound,” he says.
The Arthritis Society Atlantic Region Executive Director Susan Tilley-Russell says camp is just one of the many programs available for those living with juvenile arthritis.
The backpack program is offered to children when they are first diagnosed.
“We give them a backpack full of interesting things from information and children’s books, information for the parents and a teddy bear that’s got a hot and cold therapy pack on it that the child can place on their joints to help them,” says Tilley-Russell.
Support is also available for the whole family.
“We can match parents with another parent of a child with juvenile arthritis so that they have someone they can talk to,” Tilley-Russell explains.
Now 18, Corkum is too old for camp, but says he has many fond memories of years past. For now, he’ll keep spreading awareness.
“I don’t want any other kid to feel like how I felt like when I was diagnosed,” Corkum says. “I want people to know that there is something to get through and that you can still persevere through an illness like this.”