When Kimberly’s teenage daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, she took action. She knew finding a community and learning more about JA could make her daughter’s journey easier.
Jaelynn’s disease came on quick and fast, affecting most of her joints. As a family, the Tonders experienced many days of tears, struggles with everyday life activities, sitting out of dance practice and even missing school. Life as they knew it had changed. Jaelynn was learning her new normal, and her family was determined to help her find the silver lining in every situation she faced due to JIA.
In 2015, Kimberly decided to support her daughter and help build awareness for JIA by forming a Jingle Bell Run team, Jaelynn’s Dashing Dancers. She shared her daughter’s story every opportunity she could. Support and love surrounded her from family, friends and those who followed the team. In 2016, Jaelynn was asked to be the Youth Honoree for the event. It was Jaelynn’s goal to inspire others living with arthritis to not give up on their dreams.
Now a freshman in college and a member of her collegiate dance team, Jaelynn continues to face struggles of living with JIA. With the love and support of family and friends, she faces those struggles head on. Jaelynn carry's a full load of classes, a vigorous dance schedule and is living by what she inspires others to do.