Laptop a boon for arthritic Jasmin

HELEN HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2014
Jasmin Kuriger
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
PAIN-FREE TYPING: Jasmin Kuriger, 16, has a new laptop courtesy of a scholarship fund through Arthritis New Zealand.

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Writing essays is a pain for most teenagers, but the actual writing causes a whole different kind of discomfort for Jasmin Kuriger.

Jasmin, 16, has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 3. It has affected all of her joints, including her fingers, which means writing assignments and essays can be difficult.

But the problem has been solved by a new pink laptop courtesy of the Taranaki Education Scholarship Fund, which is administered by the Arthritis New Zealand Regional Liaison Group.

The fund also awarded 25-year-old early childhood teacher Justine Hall $1598 for course fees to upgrade her diploma to a degree.

The fund supports young people in Taranaki with arthritis to undertake further studies.

The fund is usually for people from year 13 upward and Jasmin is in year 12 at Inglewood High School, but the liaison group decided to make an exception because a laptop would help her manage her school work.

The pain was not too bad, Jasmin said. It hurt only occasionally now that she had a new drug called Infliximab.

She goes into hospital for a day every four weeks and the drug is given directly into the blood stream. The upside was she got a day off school, she said.

Jasmin does not let her arthritis hold her back. She gives everything a go, including netball.

Miss Hall, 25, has psoraitic arthritis, which started when she was 14 and her fingers swelled up.

"They looked like sausage fingers. Gradually, it moved to all my joints."

Medication controls her arthritis, otherwise she would be pretty limited in what she could do, she said.

"I work fulltime. I'm going to do more study now. I'm happy with where I am."

Younger people with arthritis just get used to it, she said.

"You just carry on because you have to."

Getting the scholarship was a great help, she said.

Arthritis New Zealand mid-central regional manager Tui Tararo said the total pool available for the scholarship fund each year was $3000 and young people could apply more than once.

"In fact, some recipients have applied and received grants that covered some of their study costs over two to three years."

Applications for the next round of scholarships open in March and will be advertised.

Details would also be available on Arthritis New Zealand's website.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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