Little Clare walks to find a cure

PUBLISHED: 17:18 17 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 May 2010

Clare Smith.

Clare Smith.

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD arthritis sufferer from Portishead, who sometimes wakes up screaming in agony, is stepping it out to help fund research into her debilitating illness. Clare Smith, of Winford Close, was a sickly baby and often had high temperatures. When s

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD arthritis sufferer from Portishead, who sometimes wakes up screaming in agony, is stepping it out to help fund research into her debilitating illness.Clare Smith, of Winford Close, was a sickly baby and often had high temperatures. When she was 18 months old and unable to stand up, her parents became increasingly concerned.Eventually, Clare, who attends St Peter's School, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.When the inflammatory disease flares up, she wakes up at night, screaming in agony, and the condition can take months to die down. In addition, weekly injections of chemotherapy drugs to keep the condition at bay suppress her immune system, leaving Clare prone to infections. She also gets very tired.But on June 24, she will be doing a three-mile walk around Clifton Down to raise funds for research into children's arthritis.Clare's mother, Vicki, said: "Clare has good weeks and bad weeks. In the last year alone, she's been in hospital three times."Doctors have told us there's a 50/50 chance of the disease clearing up. "I've met teenagers crippled by it and adults who have shaken it off. Clare's a really tough cookie and very active, considering her condition."It's incredibly frustrating for her when she's unable to do the things she wants to, but she's a real fighter."The Noddy Walk, which will be led by the Enid Blyton character and his friends Big Ears and Tessie Bear, will begin at 2pm and is being organised by the Arthritis Research Campaign.Vicki, her husband, Tony, and Clare's eight-year-old sister, Alex, are also taking part in the fund-raising event.To sponsor Clare, contact Vicki on 01275 849430.Clare would love other children and their parents to join her on the walk. Log onto www.noddyappeal.org for more information about it.

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