Cate Penick's Story

Cate Penick - As Cate Penick’s mom, Jill, would tell you Cate was Just like any other first grader in Little Rock, a spunky six-year old who enjoys staying active and being silly with friends.  Cate loves dancing, gymnastics, piano playing, and tagging along with her two older brothers.  But she isn’t the same, Cate has juvenile idiopathic arthritis.  

At 22 months old, Cate’s parents noticed that her knee was swollen, and she was hesitant to walk.  At first, her parents suspected she had an injury and took her to her pediatrician’s office.  The pediatrician sent Cate to the Emergency Department of Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  After examinations, Cate’s doctors noticed that she was also having pain and inflammation in one wrist and an elbow.  Cate was diagnosed with JIA just before her second birthday.  

Cate receives treatment from the Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.   Initially, she had to take weekly injections and daily medications to overcome her discomfort.  She also went to physical therapy during her preschool years to keep up her strength.   Because of wonderful care, medications, and the support of the Arthritis Foundation, Cate rarely experiences severe pain and swelling as she did in the past.  She doesn’t remember life without JIA, but she knows that this disease is not going to stop her!  

Cate served as Youth Honoree for the Jingle Bell Run -Little Rock in 2017.  She and her family are grateful for the Arthritis Foundation and are dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges that children with arthritis may face.  Cate’s mom, Jill, serves on the Arkansas Leadership Board and the Jingle Bell Run-Little Rock Committee.  The Penick family continue to raise funds and awareness by having a Jingle Bell Run team every year called Cate’s Conquerors.