Thanks to the Foundation, Mallory and her husband can build relationships with other young couples learning to navigate a new marriage with arthritis. Connections like that are priceless.
One morning, at just 12 years old, she woke up with a swollen knee. Before she knew it, her temperature had risen to over 100 degrees. Little did she know that her life was about to change. After a year of countless doctor appointments, blood drawings, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans and tears, Mallory was finally diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).
The following years were hard, not just for Mallory, but for her family as well. Her life was now filled with medications, doctor appointments and surgeries across the country. Mallory began to experience anxiety and depression.
Mallory's life took plenty of unexpected twists and turns. She quit dancing. She had four knee surgeries and a hip surgery before the age of 21. With the support of family and friends, she persevered through it all. After all, she just wanted to be a normal kid, a normal teen, a normal college girl.
Mallory’s immune system ended up weakening so much from her medications that she battled pneumonia and MRSA during college. Since her immune system was so weak, she had to cancel her study abroad trip. The truth was, JRA was taking control of her life, and it was too dangerous for her travel with a weakened immune system.
Mallory recalls that It wasn't until her late 20s that she realized she was so much more than her diagnosis.
“The first thing I tell any parent of a child with juvenile arthritis (JA) is to take advantage of the Foundation and to send their kids to JA camp,” says Mallory. “I don't want any kids to wait as long as I did to find friends with the same disease!”
Today, Mallory's arthritis is stable. She is happily married to the man of her dreams, Adam, who she describes as the most incredible person in the world. He cares for Mallory when she is sick, understands her chronic pain and takes her to doctor appointments. They live on the upper west side of Manhattan with their puppy, Lexi. Mallory lives a fulfilled life with her incredible friends and family. Despite her diagnosis, she remains active and is a member of Class Pass. She enjoys taking dance, barre and Pilates classes.