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Nearly 1,000 people from over 30 states attended the Juvenile Arthritis Conference.  Twenty-seven families and individuals from the Great Lakes Region participated, including several rheumatology fellows, two JA Conference award winners, and 17 families who received a scholarship from the Arthritis Foundation to help cover the cost of attending.  Click here to view the blog of two of these families. 

There were many amazing moments at the conference.  Morgan Patten, Arthritis Foundation Program Manager, reflects on an experience she had at the conference, “One moment that stood out to me was when a mom from a family receiving a scholarship said that her family always felt so alone in the small town where they live. Well, they connected with another family at the lunch the Arthritis Foundation hosted for people from our region. That family also lives in a small town, just a half hour away. They were thrilled to meet each other and were already making plans to get together when they got back.”

Kara Dorda, Arthritis Foundation Program Director, had a memorable moment with a passerby.  Kara explains, “A woman approached me and asked me what event I was with because she kept seeing signs about something to do with kids and arthritis.... she then proceeded to say she didn't know kids could get arthritis.  That moment allowed me to talk with her a bit about JA, our incredible families in attendance and our mission.  I know the families receive the greatest benefit from this conference, but the public awareness that this event shared was also a highlight for me.”

Below are more highlights from the conference:

•    Miss Michigan 2011, Elizabeth Wertenberger has JA, inspired families with her story and "Continue to Dream" platform reassuring parents that their children can achieve their dreams

•    Kasie Goodfellow, a young adult with JA. Kasie performed a song "Keep Moving" written by her father, which was incredibly moving.  Click here to see the lyrics.

•    General sessions including “Opening General Session: Parent Program”, “Living Beyond the Diagnosis: Young Adults Share Their Stories”, and panel speakers watch them here.

•    Dr. Barbara Adams, Michigan pediatric rheumatologist received the Earl Brewer Award for Physician Leadership awarded by the National Juvenile Arthritis Alliance

•    Karla Jones, Karla Jones, RN, MS, CPNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Division of Rheumatology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital  from the Great Lakes Region received The Patty Retig Award for Health Care Professional Leadership

The 2012 Juvenile Arthritis Conference was a huge success.  Thanks to supporters like you for helping the Arthritis Foundation provide these resources to the 300,000 children living with the daily pain of JA. 

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