THE BLOG
21/10/2013 13:19 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Where Your Money Goes...

Shay's story is just one of many helped by your support, and we're constantly working to help more children and young people across the UK. We are currently providing grants to over 2,700 projects and your donations go towards supporting children and young people facing a wide range of disadvantages...

We are now just a month from the Appeal night on Friday 15 November and people all over the UK are already getting going with fundraising. Over the next few weeks I will be posting some stories written by some of the children and young people supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects. They show why the support we can give is so important and I hope that they will inspire you to get involved.

Today is Shay's story:

"I have Systemic Lupus Erythamatosis, which is a form of arthritis. Well, that's the medical term for what I simply describe as 'a pain'.

"Before the diagnosis I had no idea what was going on with me. Growing up, I loved football, but after every game I would get a really bad pain in my legs that took days to get over, but I never thought anything of it. I just plodded on and accepted the aches and pains in my joints. Until I got a rash...and not just a simple red rash!

"Multiple trips to the doctor and several attempts to diagnose what was wrong with me caused what I can only describe as a 'crustation' on my face. I was so weak and sick I missed about six months of school which led to me losing contact with my so called friends who stopped calling for me and inviting me to football and sleepovers. I felt like a freak!

"I had just started a new school and should have been enjoying my 'teenage years' hanging around with mates; but I had been deserted. I was sort of relieved that I was too sick for school because when I did go out everyone stared at me. I was filled with thoughts of 'what have I done to deserve this?' I just wanted to be like everyone else.

"The emotional stuff was just as difficult to deal with as the physical pains. And this is where the Arthritis Care project saved me. Catherine, who works for Arthritis Care helped me so much and helped me realise that it wasn't only me that this was happening to. She encouraged me to come away on weekends where I was with kids who knew what it is like to live with pain and medication on a daily basis.

"I realised that we are not different from other children; we still want to do what other children do. Despite pain in joints, constant fatigue and medication management, the Arthritis Care weekends gave us the opportunity to be active and 'normal'.

"I am proud to be one of the children from Arthritis Care. We support each other and we give each other encouragement and confidence to have fun together and forget about the other stuff that goes on in our lives. We can be ourselves without worrying that others will not understand the aches and pains.

"It's not just about the active stuff. For me it's about being with other children who accept me for being me. I don't have to pretend to be anything I'm not. The weekends have restored my confidence and made me a stronger person. I have met some great people who will always be my friends!

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story, and for supporting children with juvenile arthritis to enjoy activities that change our lives."

Shay's story is just one of many helped by your support, and we're constantly working to help more children and young people across the UK. We are currently providing grants to over 2,700 projects and your donations go towards supporting children and young people facing a wide range of disadvantages including poverty and deprivation, behavioural or psychological difficulties, disability and issues surrounding distress, abuse and neglect.

It goes without saying that each of these stories - and indeed every success from the charity - really is down to you, the public, whose incredible support results in us being able to change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

We've got lots more stories to tell, so keep checking back...