Emma’s Story 

Emma has been the underdog since childhood. Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis as a toddler, she couldn’t always keep up. Now, as a teen, she’s found her voice by helping kids just like her. 

Emma was a spunky 2-year-old. But she woke up each morning and could barely walk. She was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) before her third birthday, and the diagnosis framed much of her childhood. She spent most of her early years inevitably picked last for any competitive activity at school, and despite her parents’ valiant efforts for her participation in youth sports, the excruciating pain in her knees and ankles sidelined her from being able to compete. 

 

Emma struggled for years with the trial and error of ineffective oral prescription combinations, injections, MRIs and outpatient surgeries. Though she endured injections that came with the piercing pain of long needles going into her belly and an awful metallic taste that lingered in her mouth hours after, they offered little relief. 

 

When she was finally eligible for an IV drip step therapy, she was hopeful. And thankfully, the treatment worked to reduce her inflammation. At 17, and after a few months of treatment, there were no active signs of arthritis. Relief was welcome, but the damage had been done and the loss of cartilage in her knees was irreversible. 

 

Despite her struggles, Emma grew from an insecure, quiet little girl who was categorized as different for most of her life into an optimistic and determined young woman. She found confidence in serving as a counselor at the Arthritis Foundation’s Camp Joint Adventures. That inclusive environment changed the trajectory of her life and sparked her interest in advocating for younger versions of herself. 

 

Today, Emma has been accepted into the honors program at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. She plans to pursue a degree in communications with an emphasis in philanthropy and will have the opportunity to cheer collegiately. She hopes to use both platforms to leave a legacy through a nonprofit organization like the Arthritis Foundation that can cultivate positive change for the underdogs like her. 
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    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.

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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.

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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