Carson’s Story

“Kids don’t get arthritis.” That’s the first thing Chrissy and Jason Rose said when the doctor told them their 13-month-old son had juvenile arthritis.

“As an infant, Carson was a cranky baby,” Chrissy explains. “He would scream and cry and didn’t sleep through the night until he was more than a year old. He would lay on the floor and pull at his legs. We didn’t know what was going on and were kind of going crazy.

“We tried everything to get him comfortable. When he was learning to walk, we noticed he appeared to be limping, and he never actually crawled. He would army-crawl on his forearms, but never supported himself on his wrists. It wasn’t until much later we learned he only had 30 percent mobility in his wrists.”

The Roses took Carson to the pediatrician eight times before they started to untangle this medical mystery. “I was the crazy mom calling every day, insisting he hadn’t hurt himself and asking what more we could do. Carson’s doctor finally ordered blood work, which resulted in a referral to a rheumatologist. Little did we know how challenging it would be to get an appointment.”

When Chrissy called to schedule an appointment with a pediatric rheumatologist near their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, the earliest appointment was eight months away. She feared if she waited that long, Carson would still be unable to walk. So, the Rose family drove two hours to the next nearest rheumatologist in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Carson was finally diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

“I didn’t want to believe it,” recalls Carson’s dad, Jason. “I was very adamant that this was not happening to my son. Is he ever going to play sports? How will this affect his life?"

“It’s really easy to feel guilty as a mom when you know your son has never known life without pain,” Chrissy says. “I didn’t realize arthritis was a thing in kids.”

Within a month of his diagnosis, Carson had received his first round of steroids and joint injections in both knees and wrists. While he experienced almost immediate relief with crawling and walking, he did not respond well to the drugs his doctor prescribed. When the Roses decided to relocate to Indiana, the proximity of rheumatologists played a vital role in their decision because of the dwindling numbers of rheumatologists in Ohio.

After three years of weekly injections at home, Carson has been in remission for the past two years. Today, this determined 7-year-old enjoys playing baseball and basketball and wrestling — and sharing his story with others.

Finding a New Family
One of the hardest parts about Carson’s diagnosis was how little the Roses’ friends and family knew about arthritis.

“It was really hard for people to wrap their brains around the fact that most of our kids don’t look sick,” Chrissy remembers. “We went to Disney World when Carson was 5, and people were staring at him because we had to push our walking, talking little boy in a stroller. Just because my kid doesn’t look sick doesn’t mean he isn’t sick.”

The turning point for the Rose family was finding the Arthritis Foundation — what Chrissy calls the family she never knew they needed but that came into their lives when they needed them most.

“When you’re dealing with a child’s diagnosis at such a young age, it’s incredibly overwhelming. The Arthritis Foundation quickly jumped at the chance to help us settle in to our new reality. They connected us with families across the country who were going through the same thing we were.

“We formed a Walk to Cure Arthritis event team and had opportunities to share our story within our community. If there is one constant in our journey, it’s that the Arthritis Foundation has always been in our corner.”
For the past four years, the entire Rose family has attended the Arthritis Foundation’s annual National Juvenile Arthritis Conference. At first, they sat in every class and were absorbing every bit of information they could. Today, they serve on volunteer committees, and Jason runs several sessions, speaking to other dads about how to navigate the journey.

“The Arthritis Foundation has taken us in, and we love giving back. Being an Arthritis Warrior means never giving up,” says Carson’s dad. “From the time Carson began walking, he was forced to deal with the painful side effects of arthritis. But because of that, he’s leading a great life today. We could have chosen to let arthritis dictate the direction of his life; but instead, he has worked harder than any 7-year-old I know to ensure this disease doesn’t limit him. Now in remission, we like to say Carson had arthritis, but arthritis never had him.”

To learn more about Carson’s journey and what the Rose family is up to, check out Carson’s Crew on Facebook.

I Want to Contribute
I Need Help
  • Donate

    Donate

    Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life.

  • Volunteer

    Volunteer

    Join us and become a Champion of Yes. There are many volunteer opportunities available.

  • Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Take part to be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis.

  • Partner

    Partner

    Proud Partners of the Arthritis Foundation make an annual commitment to directly support the Foundation’s mission.

Donate


Make a Donation

Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

Become a Member

Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20. You'll receive a year's worth of Arthritis Today magazine, access to helpful tools, resources, and more.

Make a Honor or Memorial Gift

Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

Volunteer


Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.


More About Volunteering

Live Yes! INSIGHTS


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 


How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

Get Started

 

Partner


Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.

Trailblazer

Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000

Visionary

Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.

Pioneer

Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.

Pacesetter

Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.

Signature

Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.

Supporting

Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.

More About Partnerships