Alder Hey Charity ambassador six-year- old Frankie Bowen became a social media sensation when a video of him moonwalking to Billie Jean at his birthday party was posted on Twitter - just two years after he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.
Frankie was a healthy baby born at Whiston Hospital, but at 18 months old his mum Kathryn noticed he had developed a limp. It was dismissed as ‘growing pains’ by their local GP, but it got progressively worse. By age three Frankie was brought to Alder Hey Hospital unable to walk.
Mum Kathryn said: “Frankie woke up one morning and just couldn’t walk. He was really upset as he couldn’t understand what was going on. We took Frankie to Alder Hey to get answers." She added: “Frankie was also having terrible conjunctivitis and he was becoming more upset as he couldn’t walk, but the nurses and doctors at Alder Hey were amazing and so reassuring.”
Frankie had many scans and tests and he was eventually diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) in 2015. JIA affects 12,000 children in UK under the age of 16, with one in 10,000 children being diagnosed each year. The condition is similar to arthritis in adults where inflammation inside the joints can lead to swelling, warmth and reduced movement. Frankie was put on an IV drip and given various forms of medication to help with his conjunctivitis and his JIA. Kathryn said: “When he was first diagnosed we couldn’t even have much of a conversation with him because he was so tired, but after just a week or so he was sitting up and pretending he was Spiderman. It was a massive relief because at one point, I didn’t even know if he was able to walk again.”
Frankie was eventually up, walking and even dancing and is not letting his condition get in the way of life. Kathryn said: “Frankie can’t keep still - he loves to dance, takes acting classes and he’s obsessed with Liverpool FC. He’s been doing jujitsu for the past 10 months and has managed earn two stripes – it’s brilliant for his joints. Frankie is just so full of energy.”
Frankie has created some videos explaining what we want to do with the money raised from this years amazing Matalan Campaign, the Research report is above but look out for the others on social media!