JIA service launch was a huge success21 July 2014The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) announced the official launch of its new Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) service on Saturday 19th July, with ‘Tea on the Beach’ at the Heart of England Conference Centre in Fillongley, Warwickshire. The day was an opportunity for children, teenagers and family members to attend a free event that was a fun afternoon for all the family, where they took part in all sorts of exciting activities, and parents also had the opportunity to ‘Ask the Professionals’. There were sessions with health care professionals throughout the afternoon, including a talk by Clarissa Pilkington, the lead Paediatric Rheumatology Consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The children enjoyed games of football, cricket and rounders, whilst also being driven around the site on quad pods. Afternoon tea was served and families had the opportunity to meet other families and talk about life with JIA. JIA is an inflammatory disease which causes chronic arthritis in children and young people and affects approximately 12,000 children (1 in 1000) under the age of 16. The severity of arthritis can vary from mild to extremely disabling and symptoms include stiff, painful and swollen joints. JIA is also associated with other complications such as blindness which results from uncontrolled inflammation around the lens of the eye and can also significantly delay physical development in the very young, cause permanent joint damage and deformity and delay puberty. Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for over thirty years, said “We are delighted to be launching this new service for families living with JIA. We have always been aware that there was inequality of access to the right care, and at the start of their journey with JIA, parents have no idea what ‘good’ looks like. The new service aims to be a voice for the family, helping to raise public and government awareness of the impact JIA can have on their school and family life and to ensure that those with JIA and their families have access to the information and sign-posting they need as well as a national support network.’ The Lord Mayor of the City of Coventry, Cllr Hazel Noonan, said, “The launch of ‘JIA at NRAS’ is a positive step forward for a better understanding of this condition. Its aim to raise awareness of the disease and to support those families affected by this are to be applauded.” For more information or to find out more about the service, please contact Maria Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org Click through our Facebook album below to see photos from the event. Post by National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).