‘Don’t let arthritis hold you back’

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Thirty-year-old Anna Nolan does not know what life is like without arthritis.

Anna was diagnosed with the condition at just two years of age.

“Ever since I can remember, arthritis has been part of my life,” said Anna.

“There was very little awareness of arthritis in children at the time, even among the medical community.

“I was referred to a great rheumatologist who was the only one working with kids with arthritis then, Prof Barry Bresnihan.

“As a child I was in and out of flares all the time. Sometimes they would last up to three months when I’d be in constant pain.

Anna is now supporting a team of top doctors who are to cycle across the Wicklow mountains to help find a cure for arthritis.

“Looking back now I wish I’d been able to tell people sooner.

“It was only when I took part in the Arthritis Ireland calendar campaign in 2005 that I met other young people with arthritis and I started to gain confidence about being a young girl living with junior arthritis.

“After that campaign I wasn’t afraid to talk about it anymore. It really changed my life.

“Today I’m doing ok. I’d like to say I’m great but the arthritis is still there every day.”

Anna is currently on placement in St Vincent’s Hospital.

“It’s hard going but I really do love it. Obviously it’s quite physical and sometimes the arthritis gets in the way, but I’m determined to do it.

“Looking back on my childhood now if I have any advice to other kids living with arthritis, I’d say don’t let it hold you back. Live your life and don’t be afraid.”


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