Hello, my name is Hallie

My name is Hallie Jane Jenkins and I am 8 years old. I was diagnosed with JIA in 2016 just after my 6th birthday. My legs would ache an awful lot when I walked and one morning I woke up and my left knee was very very swollen and painful.

My Mum took me straight to the doctors and they sent me to the hospital. I had lots of tests done, xrays and an MRI scan. The doctors finally told my mum I had JIA. I didn't really know much about it, all I knew was it was really really painful.

Over the next few weeks my ankle and my fingers started to swell up too and it made me really sad. I could barely walk and had to have help out of bed and to get up and down the stairs.

I had lots of different treatments including injections straight into my joints which wasnt very nice, I was put on daily steroid medication and methotrexate.

None of the medication seemed to work for me and my arthritis kept coming back and stopping me from doing what I loved most... gymnastics. because of the pain in my ankle and knees I was unable to do gymnastics, I struggled to run and was unable to take part in my school sports day. I missed a lot of time from school because the arthritis also affected my immune system and made me feel really poorly.

I then got put onto weekly injections called enbrel, I really didn't want to have injections every week but I really wanted to be able to do gymnastics more so I agreed.

I have been on the injections for over a year now and haven't had one single flare up or any pain. In that time I joined a gymnastics club called Pen-y-Bont gymnastics and I go twice a week and even got selected for their Squad. I take part in competitions and have come 6th and 7th place so far. I have another competition coming up next month and I'm working really hard to try and get on the podium this time... wish me luck!

I just want to say to anyone who has JIA... don't give up on your dreams, two years ago I couldn't even walk and just look at me now! If I can do it then so can you!

Lots of love,

Hallie x