Young arthri­tis suf­ferer en­dures teas­ing at school

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

There’s noth­ing worse for a sporty boy than to sit on the bench, es­pe­cially if his friends tease him about an in­jury they can­not see.

Tawa boy Cameron Kuiper, 10, suf­fered for two months with a painful arthritic knee last year, tak­ing sports off the agenda and worse, at­tract­ing flak from class­mates.

Cameron woke up one morn­ing last Septem­ber with a left knee swollen to the size of a grape­fruit. He had been play­ing soc­cer the day be­fore and the fam­ily thought he had been in­jured dur­ing the game.

But doc­tors were so con­cerned they kept Cameron in hospi­tal for two nights and he was on crutches for seven weeks be­fore be­ing di­ag­nosed with arthri­tis.

Once the swelling went down it wasn’t clear to Cameron’s Ad­ven­ture School friends why he needed spe­cial treat­ment, he said.

‘‘They started teas­ing me be­cause I sat on a chair, not on the mat.’’

Soc­cer, ball tag and rugby were also out of the ques­tion.

A steroid in­jec­tion un­der gen­eral anaes­thetic sorted the pain out be­fore Christ­mas, but it could flare up again any time in Cameron’s knees or el­bows, his mother Kirsty Glas­gow said.

Arthri­tis is an au­toim­mune disease usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with the el­derly but 100 Kiwi kids have it too. There is no known cause. ‘‘He did have a really hard time at school for six or seven weeks,’’ Mrs Glas­gow said. ‘‘One of the hard­est things for me, and him, was know­ing how his friends were treat­ing him. Just be­cause you can’t see any­thing doesn’t mean there isn’t any­thing wrong.’’

Cameron and Mrs Glas­gow are go­ing to Mata­mata on April 5 for an Arthri­tis New Zealand camp and work­shop.

The 31 chil­dren at­tend­ing will be able to do fun ac­tiv­i­ties like archery, go-karting and fly­ing fox, while par­ents will learn more about how to man­age their child’s arthri­tis.

Cameron is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing chil­dren with sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘I can ask them if they got teased,’’ he said.

Cameron and his mother’s travel ex­penses were funded by the Jet­star Fly­ing Start Pro­gramme.

Back in the game: Tawa boy Cameron Kuiper is back do­ing what he loves best, kick­ing a ball around, af­ter suf­fer­ing an arthritic episode last year. He will meet other chil­dren with arthri­tis at a camp next month.

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