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Friday, 23 April 2021
MORE than £600 was raised by children and staff at St Mary’s School in Henley for a charity supporting young people with arthritis.
Pupils wore purple for the day in support of fellow student Caleb Marchant, who has junior idiopathic arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes persistent joint inflammation and affects about 12,000 children in the UK.
Caleb, who is in year 6, made a video at home with his family and showed it to the whole school to demonstrate the impact his condition has on their lives.
He said: “I was diagnosed two years ago after the arthritis in my left knee prevented me from walking. Having arthritis has really affected me because it sometimes stops me from the doing things I want to do. I feel tired and worn out when I have a flare. I take lots of medicine to help me with the pain and I need physio to help me strengthen my knees and ankles.
“Sometimes I feel upset, especially when I can’t do something I want to do because of the pain, especially sports. I love playing football but it hurts my knees and ankles. I also get sick a lot because the arthritis makes my immune system weak.
“We want to raise awareness of juvenile arthritis as it impacts other children and not just me.” His mother Melanie said: “It is hard for us when Caleb has a flare as he is tired, angry and sad. It makes us sad when he can’t do the things he wants to do as he is in pain.
“It is important for us to raise awareness about juvenile arthritis and raise money to find out more about what causes it and so that a cure can be found.
“Around one in every thousand children has arthritis. It can be difficult to tell when a child has it as their pain is on the inside.”
Families were asked to donate using an online fundraising page, instead of bringing in cash. The children’s outfits included purple sequin waistcoats, knitted headbands, wigs, jumpers and hoodies.
Headmaster Rob Harmer said: “As a school, we are always looking at ways to support charities and give back to our community.
“We know the impact that junior idiopathic arthritis has on Caleb’s life, and that of his family, and were very keen to support this fundraising event.
“I am so proud of how all the children got involved and very grateful to our school families, who have given so generously.”
If you would like to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/
23 November 2020
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