Growing up, Anna Legassie could outrun any other girl in her school. But health problems plagued her, including unexplained aches, fatigue and fever. She was finally diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) at age 11. By 14, both hips had to be replaced, with a total of eight joint surgeries since then. Arthritis has affected her knees and other joints, too, as well as her heart.
After being told as a child she’d likely be confined to life in a wheelchair, Anna reclaimed her identity as an athlete in 2015 when she crossed the finish line of her first Spartan Race and has gone on to run 13 more races. She’s captain of Team Hips in Boston, raising more than $50,000 for the Walk to Cure Arthritis over the past five years. Anna’s also a strong Arthritis Foundation Advocate for herself and others, further showing she’s a fighter who won’t be defeated by the challenges of this disease.