Ellie's Story

Ellie loves spending time with her family. Her parents pray for a cure, especially when she is in pain. Until that day, the ongoing support from loved ones and Ellie’s indomitable spirit provide hope. 

Ellie Popp is a graceful and courageous 6-year-old girl with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). She was a happy, healthy little girl until a few months before her second birthday. She lost her spark and was fussy more than usual. She didn't smile as she usually did, and her mom noticed swelling in her right knee and major limping. 

Ellie would fall often and lose her balance. After many doctor’s appointments, she was diagnosed with JIA. This new reality was a shock to the family, and it was hard to know what the future held. The new normal became appointments with a variety of doctors, new diagnoses, physical therapy, weekly injections of chemotherapy drugs, changes in medical protocols and eventually trips to Dallas, Texas, to see a specialist.  

Recently, Ellie was also diagnosed with uveitis, which is a complication of JIA that can lead to blindness if not treated. She was also given a possible diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, which can also be related to JIA. The stress the disease causes the family is difficult. It is a struggle because just when things seem fine, a new problem arises. However, the Popp's find strength through their faith and know Ellie’s future is in God’s hands.   

Like most kids, Ellie loves playing with her Barbie dolls and enjoying time with her family. Her parents remain hopeful for a cure, especially when she is in pain. Until that day, the ongoing support and love provided by those closest to her and Ellie’s indomitable spirit provide a sense of calm amidst the storm. The Popp family has attended the JA Conference and participated in many Arthritis Foundation events since Ellie’s diagnosis. After five years of fighting this disease, Ellie has become a bold Juvenile Arthritis Warrior, and her family and friends are determined to support her in the fight to find a cure.