Colton’s Story 

Fun-loving Colton went from perfect health to living with painfully swollen joints, nightly fevers and intermittent disability. He was unable to use stairs or climb into the car unassisted. 

Colton was diagnosed with systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) just before starting kindergarten in 2017. Almost overnight, this sweet, creative, fun-loving 6-year old boy went from being the picture of health to living a life of painfully swollen joints, nightly fevers and intermittent disability. Within a month of symptom onset, Colton was unable to use stairs or climb into the car unassisted. He lost weight and became drained by the nightly fevers and inflamed rashes that broke out all over his body.  

Colton’s parents had never heard of a form of arthritis that affected children but were quickly connected with Charlotte pediatric rheumatologist, Dr. Thomas Griffin. Dr. Griffin recommended an immediate and aggressive treatment plan, which over time, would involve daily pain medications, a round of steroid injections, at-home disease-modifying and biologic shots, and eventually, IV infusion therapy used to treat children with systemic JIA. Due to the nature of step therapy, it took Colton six months and two failed drugs to find the treatment plan that would flip the switch and get his immune system spinning in the right direction again. His doctor was there at every turn, always ready to present the next option after a failed treatment.  

Colton is now pain free. Even in the worst of times, he will never let his challenge get the best of him. He lives for baseball, basketball and Hot Wheels. He still receives infusion therapy and makes the most of it by raiding the toy cabinet at Levine Children's Hospital's infusion unit. 

Colton, his parents and his twin little sisters are so grateful for his amazing and insightful doctor, his compassionate nurses and the efforts of the Arthritis Foundation to make life-changing research possible.