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Imogen's Wish: Mother's pledge to raise awareness about three-year-old daughter's arthritis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 August 2018

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Imogen at home with her parents Hannah and Darren.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Imogen at home with her parents Hannah and Darren. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A mother has made it her duty to raise awareness about the debilitating condition which has plagued her daughter's young life.

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. 
Picture: Nick ButcherImogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Picture: Nick Butcher

Like any baby, Imogen Gotts - from Pakefield - spent her first few months learning to sit up, crawl and eventually walk. But in September 2017, the youngster began struggling to walk and complained of pain in her legs.

Parents Hannah and Darren took Imogen to their GP and, following several tests and a referral to a rheumatologist, she was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints.  Imogen at home with her mum Hannah.
Picture: Nick ButcherImogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Imogen at home with her mum Hannah. Picture: Nick Butcher

In the meantime, Imogen’s wellbeing progressively declined and she was a shadow of her former self.

“Imogen went from being a bit stiff in the morning to limping with a rigid leg,” said Mrs Gotts, 34. “She was up most nights in pain and could only walk so far before needing to be carried.

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. 
Picture: Nick ButcherImogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Picture: Nick Butcher

“I simply didn’t know what to do for her which, for any mum, is incredibly tough.”

Mr Gotts added: “She was very withdrawn and would just sit around doing nothing. Wherever we went, Imogen would want to play with other children but she couldn’t.”

Imogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints.  Imogen at home with her parents Hannah and Darren and her sister Myah.
Picture: Nick ButcherImogen Gotts,3, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis which causes severe pain in her joints. Imogen at home with her parents Hannah and Darren and her sister Myah. Picture: Nick Butcher

JIA affects about 12,000 children in the UK and sees the immune system attack the body’s joints, causing inflammation and swelling. Since her diagnosis, Imogen has undergone extensive treatment including injections, blood tests and eye drops to prevent inflammation.

She is now given injections once a week, enabling her to run and walk freely.

Bands have been made to raise awareness for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a condition that Imogen Gotts, 3, from Lowestoft suffers from.
Picture: Nick ButcherBands have been made to raise awareness for juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a condition that Imogen Gotts, 3, from Lowestoft suffers from. Picture: Nick Butcher

Having seen her daughter’s world turned upside down, Mrs Gotts has been inspired to raise awareness and record’s Imogen’s journey by starting a blog. She has also set up a fundraising page for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and will host ‘Imogen’s Wish Charity Fun Day’ at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield from noon until 4pm on August 15.

“The fundraising has gone amazingly well,” added Mrs Gotts. “People have been so generous and understanding.

“Our blog has helped us share Imogen’s journey and I’ve even spoken to other mums who have experienced the same thing. As Imogen grows up she’ll be able to take ownership of it herself.

“If Imogen could explain her wish, it would be raising awareness about her condition.”

The Gotts family would like to thank all those who have supported them. To get involved in the fun day, email Mrs Gotts via imogenswishjia@gmail.com.

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