Catherine – Diagnosed with JIA











Q:  In what city/province do you live in?

A:  Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.


Q:  How old were you when you were diagnosed with JIA? How old are you now?  What grade are you in at school?

A:  I was diagnosed with JIA 10 daysbefore my 8th birthday.  I am 11 year old now and in grade 6.


Q:  What kind of physical activities or sports do you like to take part in?

A:   I play badminton competitively as part of my local badminton club and I’m a member of the Nova Scotia Provincial badminton team so I compete in tournaments throughout the Atlantic Provinces.  In 2013, I was the U12 girls East      Coast Open Champion and NS U12 girls’ provincial champion.  I am also a member of my school’s volleyball, basketball and cross country teams.


Q:  Tell us how having arthritis affects your ability to be physically active or do sports.  What motivates you to try to take part in some physical activity or sports on days that you don’t feel like it?  What motivates you to be active on days that you don’t feel like it?

A: Sometimes, because of my arthritis, my wrist hurts and my knee is swollen and stiff.  My medication sometimes causes sickness and impacts my immune system so I get a lot of colds which affects me when I’m playing.  I’ve sometimes had to really struggle to finish a game or a race and it is frustrating when you know you might have won if you felt better.

I get motivated by remembering how JIA is affecting my body and how I want that to change.  Even the smallest bit of physical activity makes a difference and usually makes me feel better once I’m doing it.  When I put that to mind, I just want to do the best that I can do.


Q: Why do you think it is important for kids/youth/teens with arthritis to be physically active?

A:  It’s good for your joints and being part of a team can motivate you and make you feel included.


Q: What advice would you give to other kids/youth/teens with arthritis who might find it hard to take part in physical activity?

A: My advice to other kids with JIA is to start out simple with something you enjoy and remember that not every sport is for everyone.  Just because one sport isn’t for you, doesn’t mean you should stop trying or give
up.  I tried biking and skating and found them hard because of my arthritis, but one day I tried playing badminton in my backyard and I really liked it.  If I wouldn’t have given it a try, I never would have known I could do it and wouldn’t be part of such a great sport.