A brave four-year-old has been battling crippling arthritis for the last two years.

Little Lily Aird is unable to bend her legs for the first three hours of every day and has to be carried upstairs by her mother because of the crippling condition, which is usually associated with people 20 times her age.

The youngster was struck with chronic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was two, which quickly turned her from a carefree child to an immobile patient within a matter of weeks.

At first her mother Claire Aird had no idea what was causing her little girl so much pain but after months of tests, she was diagnosed with the condition, which affects one in 10,000 under the age of 16.

It is even rarer for a child of Lily’s age to be struck down with the condition but there is hope with three-quarters of children recovering before adulthood.

To treat her arthritis, little Lily takes methotrexate, which is more commonly used by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, to help ease the pain in her knees and hips and help her walk.

No cure

The Heathfield youngster also used to have cortisone injections in her knees every three months at hospital.

The condition is caused by problems in young children’s immune system and there is currently no cure.

Instead her family and doctors are focused on managing the symptoms while brave Lily is actually more concerned that her younger sister Holly, who is nearly two, is okay.

Her mother Claire, of Mill Close, Heathfield, said: “Lily is always looking out for her sister and they’re always playing together.

“She and Holly love to dance Gangnam style but without the treatment she couldn’t dance at all.”

The brave youngster was VIP at the opening of Santa’s grotto at her local garden centre last month.

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