Thank you for visiting my website.

My name is Andrew Nickson and this June I will be riding my Aprilia Habana scooter back to the factory where it was made to raise money for Arthritis UK.

I personally suffer from an acute form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),which is a degenerative disease probably caused by the inherited HLA-B27 gene, not one of the better presents my father gave me!

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) starts in teenage years and is extremely debilitating in children. The disease has also badly affected other members of my family. This is my nephew Michael's story.

Whenever I tell people that I have arthritis, they normally give me a puzzled look and say: “aren’t you a bit young to have arthritis? My Gran has it…” Annoyingly, this has been going on since I was 8 years old! I’m 24 now, and have suffered with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) for most of my life.Before my symptoms grew out of control, I had just been scouted for Dundee United’s football academy, which is admittedly only semi-pro by English standards, and had a pretty normal, active childhood. But from the age of 10 and throughout high school, my symptoms worsened to the point of being wheelchair bound for some time, medicated with steroids, and being quite isolated from my still-active friends. It was the end of the world for me at the time – being in a chair as my team continued without me there. If better treatments had been available at the time, perhaps I could have been playing for £15 a week at Rangers by now…! Over time I have been told I have a number of other issues on top of JIA and ASsuch as enthesitis,HLA-B27+, and in particular one case of uveitis, an inflammation of the eye which occurred just after Christmas of 2008 when I was 15,ultimatelyresulting in a steroid injection into my left eye. I didn’t see that one coming…! Thankfully, I haven’t had another one since, and my condition is currently a lot morestable. There is no guarantee that this will remain the case though. Doctors still don’t know what causes JIA in kids, and it is surprisingly common for children to suffer with arthritis. Hopefully, with more funding and support, the treatments that can help children and adults live pain-free lives will become commonplace.

So please support my uncle Andy in any way you can!

P.S. Sorry to any Scottish football fans I may have offended. 

 

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My own symptoms of AS are inflammation in lower back, neck, hips and knees together with further complications leading to Iritis, Crohn’s disease and the same as Michael, Enthesitis which is the painful inflammation of connecting cord tissue to muscles and bones and chronic fatigue. Trust me, they are all a real pain in the ……neck!