Cat’s 5 Top Tips!

  1. Never underestimate a child and their bravery – Rio is proof that they can actually be braver than us adults!
  2. Distract your child during their methotrexate injections with ipads, books, mobile phones.
  3. Keep a positive attitude towards your child when they are having a bad day. Even if you don’t feel positive yourself, it’s uplifting for everyone within the family and gives everyone hope and strength.
  4. It’s good to talk! Stick together as a family and always talk any worries through.
  5. Family time is precious. Choose outings that everyone will benefit from, like swimming or going to Costa!

Rio’s Story

Cat and Mike Haxby are parents to teenager Maddison and 4 year old twins, Xander and Gabriella, as well as Rio who’s 9. Rio was diagnosed with polyarticular arthritis (JIA) in 2012

Until 2012, when Rio was 6, he was happy and developing normally. Initially, when he began to get pains in his legs people told us they were growing pains, but when they got worse we did some research on the internet and became convinced his symptoms were text book JIA. The GP confirmed this as the most likely diagnosis and referred him to Alder Hey. We had to wait a short while for that first appointment, and during this time Rio deteriorated. He was struggling to walk and had to shuffle down the stairs on his bum or we had to carry him.

Life was getting very hard and it was particularly worrying because I was heavily pregnant with the twins. Rio was finally diagnosed with polyarticular arthritis, which meant he had over 5 joints affected by inflammation, including his knees, ankles some toes and fingers.

This was our worst fear and our hearts broke for him. Luckily, Rio has responded amazingly to treatment. The steroid injections he had into his joints we saw as ‘magic medicine,’ as they meant he could walk pain free! He is also on methotrexate, and although he did appear to be recovering and even managed a period without it, he is on it permanently now until Alder Hey decides he can try and come off it again. Rio manages extremely well and is such a brave and inspirational boy. Throughout the past few years he has never complained about his condition. He really is a super star!”

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