Avia Nethers: Youth Honoree

The pain 3-year-old Avia experiences is hard to understand. She and her mom often sing “I got this feeling inside my bones” from the movie “Trolls” so that Avia can express how she is feeling. 

With her second birthday just a day away, Avia and her family were excited to celebrate. Arthritis had another plan. Avia spiked a high fever and her  face swelled. Her parents rushed her to the hospital and doctors discharged her, believing she had a virus. 


Avia went to the hospital again on her birthday when her high fever returned. Doctors said she had a urinary tract infection. Exactly one month later, she spiked another fever. Every month for almost ten months, Avia was brought to the hospital with the same symptoms and was misdiagnosed each time.  


Finally, a doctor noticed the recurring fevers and sent Avia to a specialist. While she had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, it would be months before an MRI finally revealed that she had juvenile arthritis (JA). Her knees kept swelling and she would complain about them hurting, but an ultrasound and x-ray found no issues. Avia’s mom knew something was wrong and kept pushing for an MRI. And finally, at age 3, Avia was diagnosed with JA. 


The pain and treatments were very hard to deal with and the best way for Avia to understand was when her mom talked about the movie “Trolls.” They often sing “I got this feeling inside my bones” so that Avia can express how she is feeling. 


Now, Avia is teaming up with the Arthritis Foundation to fight for a cure. She has her own Jingle Bell Run team, Avia’s Battle is Our Battle Too! Her mom started it in honor of Avia because she is not alone in this battle and neither is anyone else.