Florida Kids with Arthritis Get Governor's Attention
Kids with Arthritis start a statewide Juvenile Arthritis (JA) Revolution by Staging a Peaceful Protest in Tallahassee
Kids and Young Adults, 2 to 21 years old, staged a “peaceful protest to fight arthritis” in Tallahassee on April 13, 2010 as part of Children’s Week at the Capitol. With their families, the Arthritis Foundation, Florida Chapter and supporters, they took their message to Governor Crist and state legislative leaders. Dressed in tie-dye, carrying protest signs and passing out flowers, they want people to know that kids get arthritis and they are fighting not only daily pain and joint stiffness but for a cure and better access to healthcare.
To kick off their day of protest, these young people met with Florida State Representatives Ed Homan and Kelly Skidmore to discuss healthcare issues and how to be a successful advocate. Pam Haas of Orlando and her two children talked about what is like for 15 year old Rachel to live with juvenile arthritis. Also present were Representatives Pafford, Murzin, Heller and Krisman. Current advocacy priorities discussed include lack of specialty care for juvenile arthritis. A 75% increase is needed from the 250 pediatric rheumatologists nationwide to meet the needs of the more than 300,000 children current diagnosed with a form of arthritis.
At the Capitol’s Courtyard the kids and their families set up their booth, educating kids and adults alike on their issues and the facts about arthritis. They also visited their district offices to tell their stories of arthritis in kids in person. The highlight of the day was meeting Governor Crist on the courtyard and involving him in their peaceful protest against arthritis.