Larbert lad’s plight propels family into action

Fraser has already undergone several operations
Fraser has already undergone several operations

Cheeky Fraser Johnstone is like every other primary one pupil.

He likes playing football, making his school friends at Kinnaird Primary laugh and spending time with his seven-year-old brother Andrew.

But he is also battling a cruel condition and has undergone a series of several operations already.

The Larbert five-year-old suffers from arthrogryposis, a rare disorder which limits the movements of joints and shortens the tendons surrounding them, making movement difficult.

Some battling the condition are unable to walk but Fraser is affected mostly in his hands and feet. He uses a wheelchair to get to school but once there he ditches the chair and can run and play games with his classmates. He uses a special chair to sit on but teachers say he is coping well with writing and drawing despite having curved joints in his fingers.

Since his birth his family has been fundraising for The Arthrogryposis Group (TAG) a charity that has been invaluable for the family and mum Julie is pushing for more awareness of the defect.

Julie said: “TAG has really been amazing.

“When Fraser was born the doctors knew there was something wrong but it took months to get a full diagnosis. Because it is so rare, many medical staff have never come into contact with someone suffering from arthrogryposis or know how to diagnose it.

“TAG is now campaigning so that there is a doctor in every maternity ward trained to recognise arthrogryposis and knows what to do if a child is born with it.”

Fraser was born at Stirling Royal Infirmary and transferred to Yorkhill Children’s Hospital soon after birth. Although the condition was pointed out as a possibility, Fraser wasn’t given a full diagnosis until he was 10 months old.

Julie said: “If Fraser had been diagnosed straight away there is a good chance he would not have had to have any operations on his feet. He would still have needed surgery on his hands, but his feet could have been spared.

“The earlier splints can be put on, the better the chances of it being corrected without surgery. I want to make sure if any other child is born in the area with arthrogryposis, there will be a fast diagnosis and work can start right away to correct it.”

The Johnstones have raised £1300 over the festive period for TAG with Julie making Christmas cakes, cards and decorations as well as wine charms. Dad Graeme received a £300 donation from his employers Ineos in Grangemouth.

For information on TAG visit www.facebook.com/pages/JuliesTAGpage