When only 2 years old, Lauren Vaknine was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis – now termed Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – it was predicted that by the age of twenty she would most likely be wheelchair bound.
With her family’s support, using complementary medicines and, not least, drawing on her own determination and will power, Lauren battled various set-backs and, despite an event which, at 18, saw her confined to a wheelchair, she is now healthier than many 20-30 year olds.
Eight years ago Lauren was invited to speak at a Parliamentary event for young people with arthritis, which was hosted by David Amess.
That day made a huge impact on her as she realised, for the first time, how different she was to other JIA sufferers. She was the only one in the room who had no long-term joint, bone or organ damage, and no deformities. She was also the only one who had been treated with integrated medicine.
On 4th June, David Amess MP hosted another Parliamentary event for young people with arthritis at the House of Commons, which Lauren organised. The event was to raise awareness about JIA among MPs, healthcare professionals, students and patients and their parents, on the importance of early diagnosis, living a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging patients to take their healthcare into their own hands.
Keynote speakers were:
- Dr Clarissa Pilkington – Paediatric Rheumatologist at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital
- Dr Peter Fisher – Consultant Rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
- Lauren Vaknine – Writer, campaigner, Trustee of the British Homeopathic Association and JIA sufferer
- Denise Balyoz – Mother of 6 year old child with JIA
Lauren acts as a patient ambassador for the Friends of the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and also campaigns to help improve paediatric care on the NHS.