Tookie

Tookie

Student’s charity work earns scholarship

Logan Graham says suffering from severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis helped shape his gritty determination.

Imagine a five-year-old with two casts on his legs and a walker for getting around.

Logan Graham remembers sitting on the sidelines and longing to play basketball, baseball – or any sport. Suffering from severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, following a diagnosis at age four, the now 17-year-old Oak Bay high school graduate looks back on how those experiences helped shape his gritty determination.

“I was going to either succumb to it, let it gain control of me or (I was going) to master it,” Graham said of his disease. “I learned to help myself in order to help others.”

Despite 10 operations on his knees, surgery on his jaw, thumb and elbow as well as a host of other treatments, Graham says he has lived a blessed life and is grateful for opportunities afforded him despite his challenges.

When he recognized many children with similar conditions didn’t have the help he was afforded, he and his family started the Children’s Arthritis Foundation. Ten years and $150,000 in donations later, Graham’s efforts have been recognized with a UCBeyond scholarship, which is given to 16 students across Canada who excel despite dealing with inflammatory arthritis.

“The scholarship takes my mind off paying the bills and helps me focus on doing things I always loved to do, things I am passionate about,” said Graham, studying business at the University of British Columbia. “It not only gave me $5,000, it gave me a huge opportunity … I began to see university as a platform where I will really get into campaigning for kids, and going through the foundation to advocate for kids who can’t advocate for themselves.”

It is that selflessness that has impressed Ross Petty, professor of pediatrics in rheumatology at UBC, who believes the foundation was always about children with arthritis – and not just about Logan.

“I am eternally amazed how kids put up with the misery of this disease,” Petty said. “But it doesn’t conquer them, they conquer it and are able to do things many able-bodied kids don’t … (Logan) will make a wave in this world.”

The foundation helps with everything from getting supportive shoes and food vouchers to helping fund research.

“He speaks with such conviction. He has the advocacy impulse in him… He is a very impressive person,” Petty said. “I think we need more people like Logan and his family to accelerate the research for better treatment and cures.”

In the meantime, Graham continues his studies at UBC working towards a business degree he hopes will help him to help others.

“Arthritis doesn’t define who I am. I decided not to tell anyone about my arthritis because I didn’t want to be seen as the arthritis kid, I wanted to appear to be normal,” Graham said. “Those kids don’t want to be seen like that, all they want is to be seen as normal.”

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

West Shore RCMP say police presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to the shooting death of a 37-year-old man in Metchosin Friday night. (Black Press Media File)
West Shore RCMP says presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to death in Metchosin

Police continue to investigate what they describe as ‘targeted incident’ in death of a 37-year-old man

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read