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The Arthritis Society handing back childhood to 24,000 kids living with arthritis

TORONTO, March 1, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Arthritis Society estimates that as many as 24,000 Canadian children aged 18 and under live with a form of arthritis – that's more than 3 out of every 1,000 kids. March is Childhood Arthritis Month, and we are focused on helping children and their families live better with arthritis while we invest in the search for a cure.

We've reached out to children across the country that are living with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), lupus, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases. This month, we're helping them share their stories to increase awareness about the prevalence of childhood arthritis, and to raise more money for pediatric research so that we can make sure no child is left out of school or play because they're in pain. (See below for a list of communities in which we have families available for interview.)

"Arthritis is often thought of as a disease associated with aging, but children get arthritis too," says Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society. "Our incredible donors are helping deliver improved testing and treatment protocols, increased investment in research, and impactful programs and services that will ease the burden of arthritis for children in Canada. We've made great progress – but there's more work still to be done."

To learn more about arthritis in children, or to help support research and programs that target childhood arthritis, visit http://www.arthritis.ca/Childhood.

The facts:

  • While there is no cure for childhood arthritis, early diagnosis and an effective treatment plan including medication, physiotherapy, physical activity, and rest can control pain and help prevent permanent joint damage.
  • Children and teenagers can be affected by a variety of forms of arthritis, any of which can have potentially devastating effects on developing bodies. The most frequently diagnosed form is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), but lupus, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis and other forms are also found. Osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis found in adults, is rare in children and teens.
  • Arthritis is one of the more common disorders resulting in chronic disability in Canadian children and teens .

Here are some of the ways our donors are helping children with arthritis:

  • providing school-age children with specially-designed ergonomic backpacks filled with resources like a hot/cold therapy stuffed bear to ease swollen joints
  • investing in ground-breaking pediatric research
  • hosting summer camps for children living with arthritis in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia; and family days in some cities in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.

ABOUT THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY

The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non-government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing more than $190 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada's Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit www.arthritis.ca.

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Interview opportunities for Childhood Arthritis Month:

The following cities have families who are willing to speak to the media about their experience with childhood arthritis. Please contact mrossa@arthritis.ca to be connected, or to inquire about additional communities.

British Columbia: Prince George, Vancouver, Victoria
Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Sherwood Park
Saskatchewan: Regina, Saskatoon
Manitoba: Winnipeg
Ontario: Brantford, Burlington, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Peterborough, Toronto
Quebec: Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke
Newfoundland: Paradise
New Brunswick: Quispamsis
Nova Scotia: Bridgewater, Cole Harbour, Dartmouth, Halifax, Lower Sackville

CONTACT: For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Monica Rossa National communications specialist - The Arthritis Society 416-979-3348 x3354 mrossa@arthritis.ca

Source:The Arthritis Society