Little Girl with Arthritis becomes Gymnast
A girl who was diagnosed with arthritis aged just three has bounced back to become a gymnast.
Little Lily Whitehead, now seven, had such bad arthritis in her legs that she could not even walk.
Her parents Jane, 48, and Nick, 45, from Southport, Merseyside, had to push their daughter around in a pushchair when her joints became inflamed.
But after Lily took part in a new drug trial she made an incredible recovery and is now able to run, swim and even do gymnastics.
Jane said: “Lily walked down the stairs one day limping and it just got worse from there.
“A few years ago on sport’s day we had to watch her cry while she was running, she was in so much pain but was so desperate to take part.
“This year was completely different and she recently took part in a gymnastics competition too, finishing sixth out of 36.
“We never knew she was going to get diagnosed with arthritis, I didn’t even know it could affect children. It was a massive shock.”
After Lily developed a limp and small swelling, Jane and Nick took Lily to the doctors.
But after three days it had not gone down so the family were sent to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
Jane said: “At first they just thought it was an infection and Lily even had surgery to drain it, but she got even worse and they realised she had it in both knees.
The family were offered a clinical trial that would help both her eyes and her joints.
Jane said: “It was upsetting, you hear new drug, trial, research. God knows what we were pumping her with.
“Although it was a risk, it was one we knew we had to take.
“If it meant Lily had the chance of a better quality of life it was essential we tried anything we could for our daughter and for other children with arthritis too.”
Jane claims that from the very first injection Lily was different.
She said: “We immediately felt that we’d turned a corner.
“It was a big decision to put Lily on these new drugs but I trusted the doctors at Alder Hey and it’s really paid off.
“Not only has her condition improved but her confidence is so much better now too.”
Lily’s condition was so good that she was taken off the medication in December last year.