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Cape Breton boy living with arthritis raises nearly $6,000 in charity basketball game

11-year-old Josh MacDonald poses with Cape Breton University men's basketball team player Anthony Lecky. (Source: Ryan MacDonald/CTV News Atlantic) 11-year-old Josh MacDonald poses with Cape Breton University men's basketball team player Anthony Lecky. (Source: Ryan MacDonald/CTV News Atlantic)
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With his dribbling skills and signature hair forever bouncing on his head, 11-year-old Josh MacDonald of Sydney, N.S., could easily pass for a mini-Steve Nash.

MacDonald is head-over-heels in love with basketball, and is considered one of the better players for his age group in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

MacDonald also has juvenile arthritis.

"Some days I just wake up and I'm just sore and I can't move,” said MacDonald, who has made regular trips to the IWK in Halifax since being diagnosed at age two.

Jeff Ryan, one of MacDonald’s coaches, knows firsthand what the promising young player is going through.

"I actually had it when I was a kid as well - same kind of thing, had it in my knees,” said Ryan. “And you can't tell by looking at him. What a kid. He's super energetic. It just shows you can do anything if you want to."

On Friday evening, MacDonald and his family hosted a fundraising game for Arthritis Society Canada at the Sydney River Elementary gymnasium, where he plays for the school team.

The elementary and middle school boys got a surprise when members of the Cape Breton University (CBU) men's basketball team joined them.

"I've known Josh from all the CBU camps already. I would have never guessed what he's going through,” said CAPERS player Anthony Lecky. “So, it's pretty crazy that he's doing as good as he is right now while also going through that. It's kind of an inspiration."

MacDonald’s charity basketball game raised $5,738. The total – and the experience – left an impression on some of his young teammates.

"It's pretty great, because there's probably a ton of people who can't play sports because of arthritis,” said Ethan Seward, one of MacDonald’s teammates.

"I just want to thank my parents, my coaches, my doctors - anyone who has helped me in my life,” MacDonald said.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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