Eleven-year-old Ava from northern New South Wales is an agile and athletic young girl and you would never guess her health condition. It wasn’t until a family camping trip in 2015 that she realised something wasn’t quite right. After waking up and standing up out of bed, she fell over suddenly and unexpectedly. Ava also noticed stiffness and swelling in her knees, which caused her a lot of discomfort.

After a trip to the Queensland Children’s Hospital rheumatology service, Ava found out that she had juvenile arthritis in her left knee, which came as a complete shock to the whole family because there was no family history. As the year progressed, it was found that she had arthritis in both knees and her right ankle.

There are days when Ava’s joints are inflamed and sore because of fluid build-up. Some days are tougher than others but Ava doesn’t let that stop her determined little spirit. Despite being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, Ava has excelled in many different sports including aerial silks, athletics, dancing and football.

She is determined to not let her diagnosis stop her from achieving great things in life. Ava is managing her condition well and comes to the Queensland Children’s Hospital rheumatology service regularly for injections in her joints.