Kayla’s Story 

Kayla was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, when she was 14 years old. She is the Youth Honoree for the Chicago Walk to Cure Arthritis.  

Kayla is 14 and was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of arthritis, in December 2016. She was misdiagnosed multiple times over the years. After many blood tests, one came back positive with the marker for AS. She has been living with the pain of this disease since she was 5. She began seeing rheumatologist, Dr. Erin Arnold in 2016. 

 Even though Kayla has AS, she is no different than any other teen. She likes to do many different things like riding horses, baking, going to concerts, hanging out with friends and spending time with her family and their horse. There are times when she is unable to do these things because of the pain this disease causes. During seventh grade, she was unable to write because of the pain and swelling in her hands. This summer, Kayla attended an Arthritis Foundation juvenile arthritis camp where she made new friends who have the same disease. She had an amazing time rock climbing and shooting a bow and arrow.  

 Kayla originally became involved with the Arthritis Foundation to be around other kids like her. Now she is trying to raise awareness and help fund programs that the Arthritis Foundation supports. Kayla thinks it is very important for people to know that not just adults get this disease. One thing she has realized over the years is that because AS and arthritis are invisible diseases, it is a lot harder for people to realize she is sick.