Zoe Belleperche and her big brother Tristan

Zoe Belleperche and her big brother Tristan

Walk for Arthritis in Trail

Do it for the kids - Walk to Fight Arthritis in Trail on June 4.

Everyone has heard of it. Someone’s grandma or grandpa has it, and it’s a disease of the elderly, right? Wrong.

Did you know that kids get arthritis too? That they can even be born with it? Three in 1000 children are diagnosed with this life-altering disease, and at least one of those children lives right here in Trail.

Cindy and Adam Belleperche’s daughter, Zoe, was diagnosed with Juvenile Ideopathic Arthritis (JIA) in February of last year. Zoe was just 5 at the time.

It was a shocking diagnosis, and one that started an unanticipated journey for the entire family that included trips to BC Children’s Hospital, doctor’s offices to see pediatric rheumatologists, and many other medical appointments.

It also led them to become a part of the Walk to Fight Arthritis in Trail, taking place on June 4. As a mom and a nurse, Cindy wants to be able to share what she has learned to help create awareness about the realities of juvenile arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment can have a dramatic affect on the disease and its progression.

When asked why she is involved with The Arthritis Society’s Walk to Fight Arthritis, Cindy shares:

“Our family is walking in the Trail Walk to Fight Arthritis to raise awareness about this disease, and to educate people that it can happen to kids too. Zoe was diagnosed with systemic arthritis last year, and life quickly became a series of doctor’s appointments, medications and blood tests. My son, Tristan, had an idea to help, inspired by a recent walk to raise funds that his school did. He suggested that I organize a walk for Zoe, to help find a cure for her disease. He even created ‘Help save Zoe’ posters, in his efforts to find a cure for his little sister.

“The timing wasn’t right to organize an event myself, but my research into it showed that The Arthritis Society, BC & Yukon Division, was putting on a Walk to Fight Arthritis in Kelowna last June. Our entire family walked in it, and Zoe and her brother Tristan fundraised in our neighbourhood in Trail and raised over $1200. The Walk to Fight Arthritis in Kelowna was a very positive experience, and it was good to see the support around us.

“We were so surprised and happy to find out that this year, The Arthritis Society had decided to hold a Walk to Fight Arthritis in Trail! I found out about it on Facebook, and through a friend in the community. Once people started hearing about it, they came forward to us, knowing about Zoe and her fight with the disease.

“We have formed a team for the Trail Walk to Fight Arthritis – we are called Zoe’s Fighters. Our family, and Zoe especially, would like to invite you and everyone in the community to join our team for the Trail Walk to Fight Arthritis on June 4. Arthritis touches us all, and we are sharing Zoe’s story so that it can make a difference to another child or family who may be facing the same thing one day.”

Arthritis doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age, ethnicity or gender. There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis, including gout, lupus and scleroderma, as well as the more commonly known types such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. You can make a difference to people in your own community like Zoe. Register today for the Trail Walk to Fight Arthritis, where every step matters. www.walktofightarthritis.ca

The Arthritis Society is grateful for the support of local sponsors who have helped to make the Trail Walk to Fight Arthritis possible.