THE family of an 11-year-old arthritis sufferer is appealing for people to take part in a sponsored walk to raise awareness of the condition.

While arthritis is usually associated with adults, Simon Stones suffers so badly from it that he often cannot dress or feed himself.

Simon, of Rectory Gardens, Daisy Hill, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis after his joints started growing out of shape when he was aged three.

By the age of eight, it had spread to all his joints and his condition worsened after a bout of tonsillitis.

Simon now has to be put on antibiotics within hours of any illness as infection can spread to his joints.

Some days, the Sacred Heart pupil has so little movement that he is unable to dress, wash or even feed himself.

Simon and his mum, Sandra, who suffers from myositis - inflammatory muscle disease - are now urging people to take part in the Noddy Appeal Walk in June.

Mrs Stones said: "It's vital people realise children can be affected by arthritis.

"It's often seen as a condition that only affects older people.

"Money raised from this walk will go towards finding a cure.

"It's too late for Simon to be cured, but the extra research could see his quality of life improved and make sure other children don't have to go through what he has."

The youngster was initially put on anti-inflammatory drugs, but he has a tablet phobia and had to stop taking them.

He was then treated with injections, but the drugs made him sick.

He now has to have steroid injections and has only just returned home from a stay in hospital where he was given steroid infusions through a drip.

Mrs Stones said: "He doesn't let it get him down, but some days he does ask 'why me?'

"If he can't do something because of his arthritis, he does all he can to find another way round the problem."

Simon is no longer allowed to play contact sport and has to stay inside at school break times in case he is injured.

He can manage gentle exercise and enjoys swimming and riding his bike.

In September, Simon will move to St Joseph's RC High School in Horwich, but might have to work in a room on his own if he cannot manage the stairs to classes.

For details about the Noddy walk at in Platt Fields Park in Manchester on June 17 and organised by the Arthritis Research Campaign, contact Marie Arnold on 01246 541110 or visit