Valeria’s Story 

Valeria is a great leader and an inspiration for all children with juvenile arthritis. She maintains a positive attitude and seeks to help others even though she herself suffers.  

Valeria is 11 years old and was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) when she was 6. Her symptoms first appeared in the summer of 2013.  She was complaining of joint pain in her knees, and she developed a fever that lasted several days.  Valeria was also having a significant amount of morning stiffness mainly in her fingers, hands and feet. 

Having arthritis has affected Valeria’s life in many ways, and the fatigue that comes with JRA can be debilitating at times. She has stiffness in her hands that affects her ability to run, jump and play most sports. Fortunately, she practices swim and yoga regularly, which do not cause her as much pain. While she tries to stay positive, there are times when she feels sad and cries. 

Valeria is a great leader and an inspiration for all children with JRA and their families. She maintains a positive attitude and seeks to help others even though she herself suffers. She serves as a great example for all of us, and how we should treat others. 

Valeria has been a model in the Arthritis Foundation’s South Florida Magic of Caring Fashion Show. She has also attended the juvenile arthritis camp and forms a team for the Walk to Cure Arthritis each year. In 2018, Valeria was the Youth Honoree for the Miami Jingle Bell Run, raising great awareness about JRA in her school and community.