Ilkley Family Fun Day 2017
After what was said to have been the wettest June for 30 years the sun shone on the JIA-at- NRAS Family Fun Day on 1 July, which was again held at Nell Bank, Ilkley in West Yorkshire.
Nell Bank is a purpose-built activity centre, with inclusive and accessible activities for all abilities and ages. Children and teenagers with JIA, and their siblings, took part in supervised activities and at lunchtime everyone sat together mingling and chatting with each other.
Whilst the children enjoyed pond dipping for water monsters; hunting down cuddly brown bears; den building and general water play, their parents were able to listen to and talk with specialist health care professionals, who as always were wonderful.
This year we were joined by rheumatology experts Dr Gavin Cleary, Consultant Paediatric Rheumatologist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Dr Martin Lee, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Freeman Hospital who spoke about mental health; transition (making the move from paediatric to adult care); research and JIA in general
The audience made full use of the Q&A sessions at the end of the presentations, posing a huge number of questions, to which fantastic answers, full of clarity and compassion, were given.
Chloe Scarlett, now in her early 30s, who has had JIA since she was 2 years old, also spoke to parents. Chloe has recently qualified as a Drama Therapist, and enthralled the audience with an inspirational presentation about her journey. Audience members were overwhelmed by her lust for life and her embodiment of the fact that a good life can be lived despite JIA.
Eventually the fun had to come to an end and all the families gradually made their way home, with exhausted but happy children.
Feedback from the guests:
I wanted to say what a great day we all had on Saturday. My son didn't want to leave, he had such a fab time. It was so nice to do something for him that he didn't struggle with and he could be himself. Me and his dad found the workshop very interesting and we loved Chloe- she was fab talking about her life and what it has been like for her growing up with JIA. I feel now that I am more confident to speak with his school and I can ask then to help more. We also found it helpful to meet other families experiencing the same as us. The last thing my son said was “when can I come back!”
I wanted to send a message to thank you all for the fantastic family day you organised at the weekend.
My daughter was only diagnosed at the start of this year so this is all still quite new to us. I attended the parents’ session in the morning which was really interesting and informative. My husband joined in with the water play and bear hunt activities with my daughter and they both thoroughly enjoyed their time. My daughter is just four so we explained that lots of the children there had the same "children's arthritis' that she has.
I also got chance to speak with a couple of other parents and exchange our numbers. It was great to talk to people who understand. In the nicest possible way, a lot of my friends don't really know what to say, so they end up changing the subject or making a "positive" sort of comment that doesn't always match the circumstances.