Well today our website has been up and running for a whole week! We've received hundreds of views and dozens of supportive messages from both well wishers and people in need of our help. It's been brilliant to hear from you and good to be assured that we're hitting the right mark.
Lots of people are asking how they can be more involved or how we can benefit them. Please check out our homepage for more information on involvement and take your time to look through the whole website with regards to our help. Our calendar of events for 2017 is also on the homepage. We have tried to include a lot of opportunities for both awareness and fundraising, as well as one or two social occasions. Please come along and support these - we would love to see from you!
First up on our calendar, there are several forms of autoimmune arthritis, but the most heartbreaking has to be JIA, or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Without Wings have therefore chosen February as the month to highlight awareness of this particular expression of the illness. Thankfully, JIA is quite rare on the Island - though of course this is irrelevant to those families living the condition. Early diagnosis is also essential. Some of you might have seen on the news this week the tragic case of 5 year old Mancunian, Kaden Hadfield, who died after systemic JIA went undetected. Our JIA campaign is also a direct response to those Manx families who have contacted us and asked for support. They have now joined forces to create the new Facebook group, www.facebook.com/JuvenileIdiopathicArthritisIsleOfMan/ Please pass this information on if you know any families in the same situation. Support is vital, not just for the families of under 16s, but also for those of older teenagers/twenty-somethings, who are still living with the effects of JIA. This brilliant new group will ensure that local families can help each other in a proactive way.
As part of this month's JIA campaign we are also very excited to say that not only will JIA supermum, Cat Haxby, (she has 4 kids - including twins!), be sharing her inspirational story in our 'positive living' section, but will also be joining Without Wing's Jackie on Manx Radio's 'Women Today' programme, Tuesday 21st February 2pm! Stick it as a date in your diary and remember to tune in as it's going to be a fabulous show. There might even be a recorded cameo from 9 year old JIA champ, Rio!
Other JIA initiatives are on there way so watch this space!
In other news, we are pleased to say we have received some very generous donations this month from Zurich, local businessman, Mr Matteus Von Oers and Celton Manx. We asked Celton Manx to donate specifically for three causes. These being:
Funds to help launch our counselling/ practical help initiative. Counselling costs around £50 a session. We plan to raise enough money for every local person struggling with these illnesses to have access to at least 4, fully funded sessions during periods of 'without wingedness'. It's going to take a lot of work to reach our goal, but there is now a small pocket of funds available for those in need. Please contact us if you feel this service might be of use to you.
JIA awareness/ support (this includes support for older teenagers and twenty-somethings who are still living with JIA),
Funding for a Just Giving page so people can get more involved and begin helping us raise more money! We intend for this page to be up and running within the next few weeks.
Finally, we are constantly trying to update our 'information' page on the website. Whereas we cannot endorse private services, we do feel it's important to include those services that can directly be of help for people living with autoimmune arthritis. We will continue to add to this page as and when we discover more.
And last, but not least, for those people who are following the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis and looking for access to a hot room, please get in contact as we have a plan!