While pain can be a result of a rough day on the field, what 14-year-old Laura was experiencing seemed extreme. A visit with a rheumatologist confirmed her suspicions, and now she’s on a mission.
Knowledge was power. Just ten days after diagnosis, Laura rallied together a team to walk in the Walk to Cure Arthritis. The next month, her family attended the Arthritis Foundation’s Juvenile Arthritis Conference. The evening they got home, her hands flared and the arthritis spread. Two months into freshman year, she suffered a broken back (PARS defect). She knows a thing or two about pain!
Laura takes two weekly injections to manage her arthritis. While she is feeling good, she admits that getting through some days is not easy. She tries to stay positive, push forward and not let arthritis stop her from doing the activities she loves, like playing volleyball, hiking and swimming. She continues to get great grades and has learned to advocate for herself and be more mindful of her overall health.
It is hard to find people who truly understand what she goes through, but at the Arthritis Foundation’s summer camp, she made lots of new friends who understand how she feels. In fact, she’s loved camp so much that she is now a counselor in training.
Laura and her team have participated in Walk to Cure Arthritis for three years. She walks because she’s grateful to the Arthritis Foundation for supporting her in so many ways and wants to ensure they continue to support other teenagers like her.