Brave nine-year-old with arthritis prepares for danceathon

Two Weasenham academy pupils

Bradley (left) with his brother Freddie (right). - Credit: Tanya Rutland

A mother has praised her brave nine-year-old son as he battles with arthritis.

Tanya Rutland from Fakenham has seen her son Bradley have a series of health problems over the last 12 months but has not let his spirits drop. He is now preparing for a danceathon to raise money for charity on March 6.

The 33-year-old, along with her husband Philip, saw Bradley have issues back in February.

A mother and son smiling together

Tanya and Bradley together. - Credit: Tanya Rutland

Originally thought to be tonsillitis, he was sent to the hospital where they found it was scarlet fever, which developed to rheumatic fever.

He started taking steroids. Two months later they said it might be more than fever, and it might be systemic onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA). This spread over his body, raising his temperature, giving him a rash and it attacked the healthy tissue around his joints.


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He also has two cataracts as a result of the steroids and has had two biopsies checking for cancer.

two brothers hugging

Bradley hugging his brother goodbye before another seven-day stint in hospital - Credit: Tanya Rutland

“Some days he is okay, other days he is up the corner of the sofa and cannot move,” she said.

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“He does not complain he just gets on with it, he has been on injections weekly and from the get-go he said I can do that.

“It is just the way he is, I would like to think his positive mindset comes from us. The boy will do anything for V-bucks, so there is always a reward for him after his injections.

They visited the hospital in February where they said his blood tests are okay, but with the presence of rash and pain still in his joints, he cannot be put into remission. They are now putting him on biological injections.

nine-year old wearing his official Versus Arthritis T'shirt

Bradley wearing his official Versus Arthritis t-shirt ready for the danceathon. - Credit: Tanya Rutland

Mrs Rutland saw the charity Versus Arthritis on Facebook hosting a danceathon for people to raise money for them. She asked Bradley if he would be interested in doing it and he jumped at the chance.

“We are proud of him always, we have three boys and I am proud of them all but Bradley has shown such strength,” she said.

“I’m not sure if my other children would have coped as well, so he makes me incredibly proud he really does.”

Three brother smiling together

All three brothers together (left to right, Bradley, Murphy, Freddie.) - Credit: Tanya Rutland

They targeted to raise £50, but have seen £400 donated, and hope to raise as much as possible.

You can donate to Bradley here.

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