A Keighley student is writing a regular blog to raise awareness of arthritis among young people.
Collette McColgan relates her own experiences growing up with the condition on the arthritisactually.com website. She also writes a weekly blog for the national arthursplace.co.uk website, which offers support for children and teenagers with arthritis.
Collette, 23, is currently taking a masters degree in print journalism in Sheffield, and recently spent six months working for the National Union of Journalists.
Collette, whose mother, Majella, is the parental involvement worker at Parkside School in Cullingworth, was diagnosed with arthritis when she was just three years old.
She was inspired to start a blog after a young woman with rheumatoid arthritis – Cat Bull – carried the Olympic torch through Keighley while training to become a doctor. Cat writes the that girlwitharthritis.blogspot.co.uk blog.
Collette said: “My mum contacted Cat to go into Parkside School to do a talk.
“I started Arthritis Actually for myself. Not a lot of people know young people get arthritis – the more people who know about it the better.
“My blog has been re-tweeted by Arthritis Research, and the lady that runs arthursplace sent me a message asking me to write for them. I’ve written a few feature pieces for arthursplace and I do a weekly blog for them.”
Collette said she tried to strike a “chirpy” note with her own articles.
She explained: “Hopefully, the blog is refreshing. It can be a bad situation, but I don’t want to be seen as moaning about it. Because I got diagnosed at three, I never really had to deal with it. Some people are diagnosed as teenagers and everything changes for them.
“I’ve had periods when I don’t need medicine, then there can be a massive flame-up and I’m back on it.”