Zoe Lonergan (6) was diagnosed with systemic juvenile arthritis when she was two years old in October 2013. She's currently in junior school.
Zoe’s symptoms include hot swollen joints, mainly in her wrists, neck, ankles and knees. She becomes very tired and gets temperatures and sometimes a rash.
The main thing that keeps Zoe and her family going from day to day is that Zoe is such a positive child. When she feels well, she is just a normal child entertaining everyone she meets with a big smile on her face, playing with her toys.
As her mother, Natalie says that it breaks her heart to see other kids Zoe’s age running around, climbing up hills or jumping on a bouncy castle at a party. Although Zoe cannot keep up, she tries her best and is just happy when the kids come back to her.
The family has a wonderful support network in family and friends who understand and know Zoe’s limits.
The team at Crumlin are like family. Zoe has grown up with them and they know the Lonergans inside and out.
In imparting a message to others, Natalie says that JIA is an awful disease and it’s invisible to everyone else, but not to give up, not to give in. JIA does not define you. You are so much stronger than you know.