JA Awareness Stories

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profile for Sarah  B (Age 24) Sarah B (Age 24)Cincinnati, OHThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 18 months old. I lived as any normal child but with frequent doctor appointments and a lot of medications. I was the ideal patient for years, very easy to care for. That was until 5 years ago when I was training for my first half marathon. I completely withered away my cartilage in my ankle and now I constantly limp and lost a lot of motion in my ankle. People...

I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 18 months old. I lived as any normal child but with frequent doctor appointments and a lot of medications. I was the ideal patient for years, very easy to care for. That was until 5 years ago when I was training for my first half marathon. I completely withered away my cartilage in my ankle and now I constantly limp and lost a lot of motion in my ankle. People ask if it is painful and the truth is that yes it is but also I have a high pain tolerance because I’ve learned to live with the pain. Children who live with arthritis are some of the strongest. Every day that we get up and go is a feat, a success. For all of my fellow peers and the children who have JRA, you are doing great! It’s ok to take time and rest.

profile for Dan P (Age 61) Dan P (Age 61)Tacoma, WAThis ismy fight

I had my first symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis the summer after I turned 14. I was on a trip with Boy Scouts, and, after a week in the Adirondacks, woke up with sharp pain, first in one knee, later in both.

At the time everyone assumed it was related to a combination of growing pains and some pretty rugged up-and-down hiking. But it came back. When I was a junior in high...

I had my first symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis the summer after I turned 14. I was on a trip with Boy Scouts, and, after a week in the Adirondacks, woke up with sharp pain, first in one knee, later in both.

At the time everyone assumed it was related to a combination of growing pains and some pretty rugged up-and-down hiking. But it came back. When I was a junior in high school, I was one of the top runners on the track and cross country teams, but by the end of my junior year, I would wake up each morning barely able to walk. I'd hobble around for about an hour, then my knees and feet--by this time my second metatarsal phlangeal joints were also impacted, bilaterally--would loosen up and I'd go about my day, including running 5 to 7 miles for track practice.

My mom, an RN, watched this and knew something was not right. Since she worked at Princeton Univerity, she took me to see the orthopedic specialist who saw their athletes. Unfortunately, sometimes you see things according to what you expect. He diagnosed it as overuse. I loved running, though, and didn't stop, despite the painful start to my days. Missing a day made no difference with the pain, so my mother, who knew from experience when doctors were not being honest, understood I'd been misdiagnosed, and took me to a few more doctors until finally we went to a rheumatologist in New York City, who thought it was likely JRA.

They decided to run a sed rate and other tests to confirm. The blood work confirmed I had JRA. They also ran an EKG, which discovered a heart murmur--a mitral valve prolapse--that had not been previously diagnosed, and x-rays, which determined that in addition to my knees and my 2nd MPJ's, I also had some fused and partially fused vertebrae in my neck, though I was still within normal range-of-motion parameters.

I was--am--lucky. Aggressive treatment, including synovectomies (removal of the joint lining) of my left knee and both second MPJ's , followed by a course of 15 - 20 buffered aspirin per day for the ensuing year left me in complete remission. However, the vertebrae in my neck remain fused, and occasionally let me know the weathers changing through sharp pains or stiffness that accompany a low barometric pressure.

I also recall now, as I am in my early sixties, that when they discovered my mitral valve prolapse, they told me not to worry about it--it would "likely not cause any issues until your sixites". At 18 that seemed impossibly far away. Now it's upon me. I also worry about deterioration of my vertebrae. I work to be active, running regularly, hiking often, and trying to eat more for my health and less for what my body thinks, at times, it wants.

So I am better off than most, but still have a few issues of concern. And I can still remember clearly how, after my surgery, my pain was immediately gone, even though I did have pain from my incisions.

I so appreciate all the research that has led to advances beyond what I had as a kid. I won the lottery and achieved remission. I want that to be the norm for everyone stricken. Thanks for all the doctors, researchers, and supporters of arthritis research--and the Arthritis Foundation--for continuing to push for more effective treatments today, and for a cure in the long term.

info about Dan P (Age 61)
profile for Jayla J (Age 15) Jayla J (Age 15)Houston, TXThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Rheumatoid Arthritis it was about 2 and a half years ago. It was one day when I was in class and my hands froze and they were swollen and I was so scared because they were also read. So I went to the nurse and she called my mom and told her I needed to go to the doctor. So my mom took me to the hospital and I was in the hospital for about one month. I I...

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Rheumatoid Arthritis it was about 2 and a half years ago. It was one day when I was in class and my hands froze and they were swollen and I was so scared because they were also read. So I went to the nurse and she called my mom and told her I needed to go to the doctor. So my mom took me to the hospital and I was in the hospital for about one month. I I was there for a month because they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me because in a couple weeks my back became swollen and I couldn't move anything but my arms. so I would cry everyday because I thought it was something wrong with me and my body shouldn't be like that. But over the couple years since I was diagnosed with arthritis I have learned that there are people out there with arthritis and I'm not alone. I have also learned that I have my family and best friends behind me.They have been a great support for me during the toughest times because I also have more medical issues.So I have learned that if you don't think positive in things you cannot succeed or achieve in different things. I also wanted to say that you're not alone in this world.

info about Jayla J (Age 15)
profile for Todd C (Age 13) Todd C (Age 13)Omaha, NEI fight forMy daughter, Katie C.

https://www.omaha.com/livewellnebraska/inspiration/gymnast-flies-high-in-spite-of-living-with-juvenile-arthritis/article_4a2e91fb-9cc0-5049-91cc-63da02e09e84.html

This story and video outline Katie's struggle with JA and how show has overcome the challenges of JIA.

profile for Tamika  D (Age 32) Tamika D (Age 32)Jacksonville , FLI fight forMy son Kendrick

Kendrick is 10yrs old. He was diagnosed with JIA on May 15, 2017. It started with swelling in his feet then it progressed to his knees and wrists. He couldn't move and his joints were burning to the touch. My husband and I took him to the emergency room and after several tests and hours of waiting we were told that our son has juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He started medication for the...

Kendrick is 10yrs old. He was diagnosed with JIA on May 15, 2017. It started with swelling in his feet then it progressed to his knees and wrists. He couldn't move and his joints were burning to the touch. My husband and I took him to the emergency room and after several tests and hours of waiting we were told that our son has juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He started medication for the inflammation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. This has been a life changing experience but we are up for the challenge. He will defeat this in Jesus' name.

profile for Lori H (Age 11) Lori H (Age 11)Kalispell , MTI fight forMy son Maverick

I was officially diagnosed at 9 after having had a spinal fusion surgery. I've lived with pain for many years but,the doctors couldn't figure it out. After the surgery, it was discovered that I have Ankolosing Spondylitis For the last 2 years I've been doing weekly injections. I love sports and am as active as I can be. With the help of my meds,massage,PT and Epsom salt baths most days my pain...

I was officially diagnosed at 9 after having had a spinal fusion surgery. I've lived with pain for many years but,the doctors couldn't figure it out. After the surgery, it was discovered that I have Ankolosing Spondylitis For the last 2 years I've been doing weekly injections. I love sports and am as active as I can be. With the help of my meds,massage,PT and Epsom salt baths most days my pain is manageable and at about a 4 level.

profile for Sarah M (Age 42) Sarah M (Age 42)Port Ludlow , WAI fight forMy son Calvin

I still remember the first time I knew something wasn't right with his legs. He was a walker around 18 months old. He fell a lot!!! One day he sat crying. You know the cry, the I'm hurt cry. I went to pick him up and he screamed. His legs stayed in place and he was not happy I tried to readjust him. We went through so much trying to figure out what was wrong. After being referred to a prominent...

I still remember the first time I knew something wasn't right with his legs. He was a walker around 18 months old. He fell a lot!!! One day he sat crying. You know the cry, the I'm hurt cry. I went to pick him up and he screamed. His legs stayed in place and he was not happy I tried to readjust him. We went through so much trying to figure out what was wrong. After being referred to a prominent children's hospital we were told it was tibial torsion and he would out grow it. Well, we rode that wave for a while.

We moved to Washington and Calvin began complaining about knee pain. Being older, he could actually point and tell us where it hurt. The poor thing would high pitched scream at times he hurt so badly. We were referred to the children's hospital here. Well, 6 months after the orthoscopic knee surgery to fix what we thought might be a torn meniscus Calvin asked to go to Children's as the pain had returned. We returned and the look on the ortho doc's face said it all. The words came out in such a sad, apologetic manner. "Calvin probably has arthritis" The waiting game for the appointment with the rheumatologist began as well as the daily pain medication. That was January 2013.

Summer 2013 we finally had a name for what had been bothering Calvin since his first year of life. Oligoarthritis - Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

You may ask, what caused it? I will give you the answer we were given. They don't know. We had one physician state it was called Idiopathic because the docs are idiots and can't figure out what's causing it. We do know the form of JIA that he has is auto-immune. Which means, he has immune cells that are fighting against the good guy cells in his body. The form of arthritis he has is different than adult rheumatoid arthritis.

So where does this bring us now? Calvin has to have weekly injections of Orencia. As of our last rheumy visit, Orencia is the last FDA approved medication for Calvin. At this time, it’s not quite doing what it needs to do. We wait patiently to see if it will be the medication to work. Its a total systemic attack to try to stop the JIA in its track. Calvin has had several joint injections over the years. He is on daily oral immunosuppressant and other medications as well. Along with this comes nausea, lack of appetite, dizziness, and teenager like crankiness. We have meds to help combat the nausea, but they haven't invented anything for the teen like crankiness! Calvin also must visit the eye doctor every 6 months as the arthritis can affect his eyes. He is considered a high risk for Iritis.

Anyone that knows Calvin knows he is a ball of energy. To look at him play, to watch him play soccer, or perform gymnastics one is just shocked when they hear his diagnosis. He once had a dream to be on the US Olympic team for gymnastics and now that he is older hopes to be a FBI agent or a Fire Chief like Dad. These talks of the future come and go depending on how he feels. Could it be because its a fleeting dream of a young boy or does he recognize his limitations. I think its both. I am so amazed at his courage and bravery. I don't think he fully grasps what immense strength he shows us.

Calvin knows this is a disease he will have for life. We have made the decision as Team Calvinator to participate in research studies, fundraising efforts and well, pretty anything that will help bring an end to this disease. We ask that you join us in this fight.

We use hashtag #kickarthritishiney for all of Calvin related posts. Follow his journey and share his story. There are roughly 299,999 kids out there just like him fighting the same disease. Let's give them all a voice. Let's give them the hope that one day we can help ease their pain.

Thank you so much for reading this. We appreciate your support!

info about Sarah M (Age 42)
profile for Sydney H (Age 17) Sydney H (Age 17)Centennial, COThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis when I was 9 years old after lots of trips to multiple doctors and no answers. It was scary for me as such a young person to go through having pain and stiffness whereas my other friends could just get right up and do things. I started feeling excluded from everything- my friends started going to hang out without me because the knew I would hurt....

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis when I was 9 years old after lots of trips to multiple doctors and no answers. It was scary for me as such a young person to go through having pain and stiffness whereas my other friends could just get right up and do things. I started feeling excluded from everything- my friends started going to hang out without me because the knew I would hurt. I never felt more alone. When I was 12, I started going to JA camp. I met so many people there that were going through the same thing as me! It was amazing to talk to people that understood what I was going through.

Arthritis makes doing the things I love extremely hard, but I don't let that stop me. I'm a dancer and it's hard to keep up with the rest of my peers because of my JIA. Every one of my dance friends understands and helps me whenever I need it.

My family and I do the Walk to Cure Arthritis in Denver, CO every year and fundraise for the kids that have arthritis, because I, and many other kids, want a cure for this disease that took away their childhood.

info about Sydney H (Age 17)
profile for Britney M (Age 28) Britney M (Age 28)Bonfield , ILI fight forMy daughter Breanna

After 6 months, 3 rounds of antibiotics and seeing an orthopedic dr Breanna was just diagnosed in March with JIA (psoriatic) she now sees a great pediatric rheumatologist. It started with a toe and has now appeared in her ankle and pinky.

profile for Charlie P (Age 11) Charlie P (Age 11)Provo, UTThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with JIA in May 2017.

Even though I have not had it for that long, it still hurts and is not fun. I have had multiple surgeries and I have had two pic lines. I play tennis but I had to stop because it was too painful and not good for me. I have JIA in my fingers and feet and take multiple medicines that make me feel better.

I hope everyone who is reading...

I was diagnosed with JIA in May 2017.

Even though I have not had it for that long, it still hurts and is not fun. I have had multiple surgeries and I have had two pic lines. I play tennis but I had to stop because it was too painful and not good for me. I have JIA in my fingers and feet and take multiple medicines that make me feel better.

I hope everyone who is reading and not reading this is doing ok.

profile for Lucie J (Age 44) Lucie J (Age 44)Holtsville, NYI fight formy daughter Lucie J.

Although not yet diagnosed, Lucie first began experiencing complications from juvenile psoriatic arthritis in 2013 at 6 years of age. Initially, her disease caused pain and swelling in her feet and ankles, which kept her from attending school, dancing and doing other physical activities. Lucie was unable to walk and used a wheelchair and walker. As time went by, with the use of crutches she was...

Although not yet diagnosed, Lucie first began experiencing complications from juvenile psoriatic arthritis in 2013 at 6 years of age. Initially, her disease caused pain and swelling in her feet and ankles, which kept her from attending school, dancing and doing other physical activities. Lucie was unable to walk and used a wheelchair and walker. As time went by, with the use of crutches she was able to return to school. After a few months of physical therapy and injections, Lucie was also able to resume some of her activities. We went through one, two or three injections at home per week. it was VERY tough to watch my poor girl suffer the way she did. it was very traumatic for all of us as a family.

After almost 4 years and many different medications, Lucie still suffers from arthritic symptoms such as pain and swelling, but you would never know it since she always has a smile on her face! For the last three years she's been receiving monthly infusions in the hospital. Changed medications a few times, but thankfully she's doing well.

I pray that one day she will "grow out of it" All we can do is hope and not give up!!!

info about Lucie J (Age 44)
profile for Rebekka G (Age 16) Rebekka G (Age 16)Pearland, TXI fight forMy son Quinn

Quinn was diagnosed with JIA at the age of 13. He had always been a very active child, playing a variety of sports such as baseball and basketball. Early in 2014 he started to have a variety of problems. Five months later he was diagnosed with JIA following a hospital stay. Like many of our kids, he has tried a series of different medications. He is currently taking monthly infusions.

Quinn was diagnosed with JIA at the age of 13. He had always been a very active child, playing a variety of sports such as baseball and basketball. Early in 2014 he started to have a variety of problems. Five months later he was diagnosed with JIA following a hospital stay. Like many of our kids, he has tried a series of different medications. He is currently taking monthly infusions.

Quinn is an example of strength. He continues to push through his aches and pains everyday. He shows us everyday how to live life to the fullest. He has found his way back to playing basketball and baseball. He is active with the Arthritis Foundation, as well as the pediatric community from the hospital where he receives his infusions. He has allowed for his JIA to control him.

info about Rebekka G (Age 16)
profile for Kali R (Age 11) Kali R (Age 11)Yuba City, CAI fight forDaughter

Having Juvenile Arthritis at 18 months old, Kali doesn't know what it's like to NOT be in pain, sure there are good days and bad days but all days have some degree of pain. It was not until Kali was almost 4 that she was formally diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis... that's 2 and a half years of misdiagnoses, an array of unnecessary tests and driving more that 3 hours (one...

Having Juvenile Arthritis at 18 months old, Kali doesn't know what it's like to NOT be in pain, sure there are good days and bad days but all days have some degree of pain. It was not until Kali was almost 4 that she was formally diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis... that's 2 and a half years of misdiagnoses, an array of unnecessary tests and driving more that 3 hours (one way) on a regular basis to be seen by specialists. At now 11 years old, we continue to fight insurance issues and school accommodation issues... it feels like we are always fighting. Kali is the strongest person I know and I'm incredibly proud to be her mom and will continue to fight to find a cure!

profile for Jacie L (Age 15) Jacie L (Age 15)Grovetown, GAThis ismy fight

Hi my name is Jacie L. I am 15 years old and I have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I was diagnosed in the 3rd grade when I was 9 years old. I am a competitive cheerleader and a JV football cheerleader for my High School.

When I was diagnosed my doctor told me I had to quit cheer. That was the worst day of my life. I cried for hours over not being able to cheer. Cheer has been a part...

Hi my name is Jacie L. I am 15 years old and I have Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I was diagnosed in the 3rd grade when I was 9 years old. I am a competitive cheerleader and a JV football cheerleader for my High School.

When I was diagnosed my doctor told me I had to quit cheer. That was the worst day of my life. I cried for hours over not being able to cheer. Cheer has been a part of my life since I was six years old and to have to quit was devastating. I had started at a new school my 4th grade year which was around the time I was diagnosed and at my worst. My fingers were curled under and I was hurting all the time. People started treating me differently and I was starting to get made fun of because I had arthritis. I would have people feel bad for me and people think it was weird that I had arthritis. I remember this one time some boy started stomping on my toe asking if it hurt and I said no because I'm not the type to say I'm in pain to people. He kept stomping on it until I said it hurt. I hated my friends knowing because I was scared they would treat me differently or just not talk to me. I was scared on being judged by my peers.

It took me almost five years to be confident enough to openly talk about my arthritis and raise awareness to people to tell them that arthritis is serious and inform people about how arthritis doesn't just affect my joints it affects my immune system and has brought my self confidence down. I have been told that I "use arthritis as an excuse for everything". It is something that has always disturbed me be to told that. Arthritis has also affected the way I've grown because arthritis stunts a person's growth, so at one point I had stopped growing.

If anyone ever asks if I would change having arthritis I would always say no because yes it has its negative side, but I have also met so many amazing people and I have been able to get myself in a state to where I'm not like how I was when I was first diagnosed. I am not in remission but I hope to one day get to that point where I am well enough to be put in remission.

I am so blessed to have the people in my life that help me get through this every day and I'm so grateful to have friends that I am able to connect with who have the same thing I do, and are going through the same problems I have gone through. I could not be luckier to have a family who is always there for me and helps me through this disease. My parents have paid thousands of dollars in medical bills and hospital visits.

info about Jacie L (Age 15)
profile for Lindsay S (Age 40) Lindsay S (Age 40)Ada, OKThis ismy fight

At the age of 2 (1976), both of my knees became red and swollen and I stopped walking. Several doctors said I was too young for it to be JRA. After testing me for everything under the sun, they relented and diagnosed me with JRA. I was started on various medicines.

My first surgery was done when I was in second grade. My pediatrician started me on shots. I spent a month in the...

At the age of 2 (1976), both of my knees became red and swollen and I stopped walking. Several doctors said I was too young for it to be JRA. After testing me for everything under the sun, they relented and diagnosed me with JRA. I was started on various medicines.

My first surgery was done when I was in second grade. My pediatrician started me on shots. I spent a month in the hospital when I was in 4th grade. I was started on a different medicine at that time. In 5th grade, I had my left wrist fused. In junior high, I would leave class 5 minutes early so I could make it to my next class on time. Someone left class with me and would carry my books for me.

Fast forward to present time and I've had 28 surgeries, died 3 times, been in the hospital too many times to count, and am on 17 medications. My life has been a trip of highs and extreme lows but I'm still here to share my story with anyone who wants to hear it.

I have a wonderful support system that consists of family & friends that always pick me up whenever I may fall. Living with JRA has been extremely difficult but the point is that I'm LIVING with it.

profile for Juliana F (Age 34) Juliana F (Age 34)Brasilia, TXThis ismy fight

I have juvenile arthritis for 24 years. I was diagnosed when I was 10. I live in Brazil and I have a Facebook support group for families of children and teens with arthritis. I fight for all the kids in Brazil to have a better life! This year I'm attending the Houston conference. So happy that I can bring new information and hope back home.

info about Juliana F (Age 34)
profile for Shanoda  M (Age 25) Shanoda M (Age 25)Millbrook , ALThis ismy fight

Two years ago I was finally diagnosed with JIA after 3 years of struggling. As a child I had many of the symptoms of JIA, but I was not diagnosed until I was 23 years old. Doctors were puzzled and could not diagnose me as a child. Because I was an adult diagnosed with JIA, it was classified as Still's disease, which is the same as JIA, just found later in adulthood. Since my diagnosis, I am...

Two years ago I was finally diagnosed with JIA after 3 years of struggling. As a child I had many of the symptoms of JIA, but I was not diagnosed until I was 23 years old. Doctors were puzzled and could not diagnose me as a child. Because I was an adult diagnosed with JIA, it was classified as Still's disease, which is the same as JIA, just found later in adulthood. Since my diagnosis, I am taking treatments, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle.

I have months with remission, and months with flares. It can be a struggle. Somedays I need help but l have an amazing support system. My mom and family are always there to help me.

Most people without this disease have a hard time understanding it, but I make it my mission to stay strong. I live to be an example to those who are younger and struggling with this like me. Please know that you can be and do whatever you want. I am in college and I am living my dream of becoming a teacher. I still can drive myself, hang out with friends, hike and do so much more. Do not let your illness stop you from becoming the person you want to be.

profile for April M April MEasley, SCI fight forDaughter Summer

I fight for our daughter, Summer, who was diagnosed just over a year ago with JIA at age 8. She is a superstar with injections and is starting to take charge of her own treatment. We discovered that she had JIA when we noticed contractures in her fingers. She's a hard worker in gymnastics class and has gained confidence learning how to swim and bike this year. She doesn't let anything slow her...

I fight for our daughter, Summer, who was diagnosed just over a year ago with JIA at age 8. She is a superstar with injections and is starting to take charge of her own treatment. We discovered that she had JIA when we noticed contractures in her fingers. She's a hard worker in gymnastics class and has gained confidence learning how to swim and bike this year. She doesn't let anything slow her down and she's who we fight for!

info about April M
profile for Taylor L (Age 14) Taylor L (Age 14)Cleveland, OHThis ismy fight

I have battled arthritis since I was 6 years old! I just had two total joint replacements last month! I endured the nearly 13 hour operation!! I am stronger than arthritis! I lost this battle but will win the war! I am bruised! But I am brave! I keep fighting every day! This is me! I am a warrior! I am not ashamed of who I am! I am a fighter ! I am stronger than arthritis and stronger than the...

I have battled arthritis since I was 6 years old! I just had two total joint replacements last month! I endured the nearly 13 hour operation!! I am stronger than arthritis! I lost this battle but will win the war! I am bruised! But I am brave! I keep fighting every day! This is me! I am a warrior! I am not ashamed of who I am! I am a fighter ! I am stronger than arthritis and stronger than the titanium that is a part of me now!

info about Taylor L (Age 14)
profile for Alyssa H (Age 14) Alyssa H (Age 14)Sharonville, OHThis ismy fight

My name is Alyssa and I am 14-years-old. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I started complaining that my legs were hurting and a couple weeks later, my knee was really swollen. We went to my pediatrician and she noticed I had psoriasis on my swollen knee, so she referred me to a hospital where after x-rays and an exam, a rheumatologist told us I had arthritis. I had to get...

My name is Alyssa and I am 14-years-old. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I started complaining that my legs were hurting and a couple weeks later, my knee was really swollen. We went to my pediatrician and she noticed I had psoriasis on my swollen knee, so she referred me to a hospital where after x-rays and an exam, a rheumatologist told us I had arthritis. I had to get a really big shot in my knee to decrease the swelling, and for almost three years, I got a shot of medication every Friday night to help decrease my joint pain and inflammation.

Two years ago, my doctor told me I could start drinking the Methotrexate instead of getting it injected. I like this much better! I had my most recent appointment on 7/11/18. My rheumatologist doesn't want to stop methotrexate yet (to test if I'm in remission), because she wants to wait for my growth plates to fuse. The good news is she hasn't increased my dosage of methotrexate in five years, and I showed no signs of psoriasis, swelling, or pain. Physical and Occupational Therapy reminded me that I do need to complete my exercises and stretches daily though, because my muscles are all tight.

My family started a team called Alyssa's Angels to fundraise for the Arthritis Foundation and their annual Cincinnati Jingle Bell Run and Walk 5K. We try to come up with creative ways to fundraise all year, like holding bake sales, hosting a "Minute to Win It" Tournament at our church, and hosting an annual raffle every April, and running a game booth in July at Sharonfest.

It makes me feel good to fundraise for the Arthritis Foundation! Hopefully there will be better medicines invented soon to make all the pain of arthritis go away!

info about Alyssa H (Age 14)
profile for Chris L (Age 14) Chris L (Age 14)Cleveland, OHI fight forOur daughter Taylor

I am fighting for our 14 year old daughter who suffers from polyarticular juvenile arthritis since she was 6 years old. All the other kids like her and she has yet to be diagnosed.... I'm fighting for a cure, and until then we won't give up the fight.
She has arthritis in all of her major joints, and she also is the rare individual whose temporomandibular joints were totally decimated by...

I am fighting for our 14 year old daughter who suffers from polyarticular juvenile arthritis since she was 6 years old. All the other kids like her and she has yet to be diagnosed.... I'm fighting for a cure, and until then we won't give up the fight.
She has arthritis in all of her major joints, and she also is the rare individual whose temporomandibular joints were totally decimated by this disease, requiring her to have a total mandibular joint replacement bilaterally at age 14.
The arthritis has also stunted her growth in her adult height is only 4 feet 9 inches tall. That is yet another grief that we have faced...her body just simply put linear growth on the back burner because it has been busy the last 8 years, fighting bigger battles.
She is small but mighty!!! Although she has lost this battle, she never gives up, and is a beacon of light to, so many, always remaining hopeful and positive through her own struggles. She is a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration to so many!!
Although she has suffered much, and endured a 12 and a half hour surgery to replace both joints, she is a warrior and stronger than the titanium that is now a part of her!

profile for Brenna L (Age 2) Brenna L (Age 2)Stevensville, MTI fight formy daughter Emery

Our baby girl is 2 and a half years old. She woke up one morning with a swollen knee and could barely walk. It has been a long road to a diagnosis but we were finally told it is JA. She is my strength and my heart. We live in a small town in MT so we travel a lot to get her to appointments. Now that we have a diagnosis and a rheumatologist we are hopeful we can get it under control. ❤

info about Brenna L (Age 2)
profile for Tiara M (Age 32) Tiara M (Age 32)Cleveland hts, OHThis ismy fight

I have JRA and I have been diagnosed with arthritis since the age of 15 years old. By being diagnosed with JRA As a child was very hurtful and not being able to do all the things I was doing as a kid it made me very depressed and had to get medication for that having JRA and having to live with this arthritis daily is very intense and a lot of medication daily

profile for Christi H (Age 4) Christi H (Age 4)Las Vegas, NVI fight forOur Warrior Princess, Avery!

We fight for our Warrior Princess, Avery! She is 4 years old and has been diagnosed with Systemic Onset JIA and a rare disease TRAPS. November 2017 she started getting really bad stomachaches and knee pain. Drs wrote it off as growing pains and constipation. Then in Jan 2018 she spiked a fever of 105 that did not break for 8 days. This visit she also contracted CDiff so they wrote it off as...

We fight for our Warrior Princess, Avery! She is 4 years old and has been diagnosed with Systemic Onset JIA and a rare disease TRAPS. November 2017 she started getting really bad stomachaches and knee pain. Drs wrote it off as growing pains and constipation. Then in Jan 2018 she spiked a fever of 105 that did not break for 8 days. This visit she also contracted CDiff so they wrote it off as that and sent us home. February 2018 she spiked another 105 with severe stomach pains and could no longer walk. They admitted us again and ran a gamut of test. Every single one came back negative. They finally decided to call in our Rheum who ran his own tests and listened to our history. Months later, our lives were turned upside down with a diagnosis of sJIA and TRAPS. We’ve been on every med and injection imaginable. Where one med would control one of her illnesses, the other would run rampant. We finally settled on a cocktail of medication every three days.

Her symptoms are somewhat controlled but still have a ways to go. Her symptoms include severe stomach pain, tachycardia, full body joint pain, lung issues, eyesight issues and severe headaches. Her current regiment gives her a day or so of painless time but it never stays at bay for long. Neither of her illnesses have a cure, TRAPS will never go into remission. These kids deserve a cure and I will stand and fight every day to help them achieve this!!

profile for Alexis C (Age 17) Alexis C (Age 17)Hazlet, NJThis ismy fight

I was playing tag with my friends at summer camp in the middle of August 2012. I tripped over a tree stump but didn’t even lose my balance (which was surprising since I’m very clumsy). But I didn’t think anything of it for the rest of the day. A couple days then went by and I could see my ankle had swollen up to the size of a baseball. I had no idea what I did to it because I knew I...

I was playing tag with my friends at summer camp in the middle of August 2012. I tripped over a tree stump but didn’t even lose my balance (which was surprising since I’m very clumsy). But I didn’t think anything of it for the rest of the day. A couple days then went by and I could see my ankle had swollen up to the size of a baseball. I had no idea what I did to it because I knew I didn’t fall when I tripped. I couldn’t walk at all. Luckily, my mom works in a doctors office so she rushed me in for some x-rays. My favorite doctor said I would need a CT and some bloodwork. It was past school's starting when I got my CT results back. They said it was abnormal, so I was transferred to a different doctor. Flash forward to December 4, 2012 when my doctor officially told me that I have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had no idea what that meant. I thought she was kinda making it up. Still to this day, almost 6 years later, I continue to make the trip out from New Jersey to have my appointments. In just a week and a half, I will be going to Camp JRA for the sixth time and seeing all of my best friends again, as well as my doctor and nurse. JA isn’t always a bad thing, it’s just a unique thing.

profile for Stacy D (Age 35) Stacy D (Age 35)New Castle, INI fight forMadison

Maddy started showing symptoms in May of 2015 of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. At that time the disease presented itself in her jaws. At this time our Pediatric Dentist sent us to a specialist at Riley Hospital where she was diagnosed with TMJ. At this time her treatment was to be on a soft foods diet for 6 months. July of that same year she started having pain in her knee and we went to our...

Maddy started showing symptoms in May of 2015 of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. At that time the disease presented itself in her jaws. At this time our Pediatric Dentist sent us to a specialist at Riley Hospital where she was diagnosed with TMJ. At this time her treatment was to be on a soft foods diet for 6 months. July of that same year she started having pain in her knee and we went to our pediatrician who thought she had just injured her knee in cheer. A week later we went back for her sports physical and this is when the knee started swelling. We saw our NP and she ordered and xray and found fluid on the knee. She then sent us to the Orthopedic Surgeon. Our appointment was on a Monday and he drained fluid that day from her knee. That Friday she woke up and her knee was the size of a basketball and she could not walk at all. We called Ortho and they told us that they wanted her at the hospital ASAP but to go through ER. Shane dropped Maddy and I off and went to get a coffee. As they were getting her comfortable in ER they called and said Dr. Sewiert wanted her prepped for surgery and he was on his way. He ended up scoping her knee and finding what he believed to be RA. She spent the night in the hospital and our next stop would be Riley Rheumatology. She has been on multiple meds to control the symptoms but we are still looking for that perfect fit if there is one. Even though she fights daily with this she has overcame it in a lot of different ways. She is very active as she is a cheerleader, plays tennis, active in various different groups in school.

profile for Stephanie  (Age 33) Stephanie (Age 33)Northeast , PAThis ismy fight

So I have had RA since I was 22 years old. I have had problems since I was in my teens but nothing was ever found. I had very bad pain in my feet and hands and was so lethargic so decided to go see a rheumatologist in Pittsburgh to find out what my deal was. I had all the symptoms of RA and Lupus but I have been being treated for the RA with injections and oral. The injections worked well but...

So I have had RA since I was 22 years old. I have had problems since I was in my teens but nothing was ever found. I had very bad pain in my feet and hands and was so lethargic so decided to go see a rheumatologist in Pittsburgh to find out what my deal was. I had all the symptoms of RA and Lupus but I have been being treated for the RA with injections and oral. The injections worked well but have major side effects to them so I am now on just oral.

I just want people to know that no matter what we go through we can do it and we are not alone in this fight. My family and friends have been amazing and always are here for me especially on my bad days. Thank you to everyone who had shared their stories. They are very encouraging.

info about Stephanie  (Age 33)
profile for Anne L Anne LDe Pere, WII fight forour daughter, Lily, age 10.

Lily was diagnosed with JIA at age 4. She had a rough road leading up to her diagnosis, and ultimately arthritic medication, but we were able to get things under control. 4 years later, in summer of 2016, we finally decided to try to go off of medication and see how her body would respond. Lily was fine--for 6 months. In January of 2017, Lily began a flare that would last over 7 months. In fact,...

Lily was diagnosed with JIA at age 4. She had a rough road leading up to her diagnosis, and ultimately arthritic medication, but we were able to get things under control. 4 years later, in summer of 2016, we finally decided to try to go off of medication and see how her body would respond. Lily was fine--for 6 months. In January of 2017, Lily began a flare that would last over 7 months. In fact, it is still going on right now. This time, she not only had pain in her body, but also developed Uveitis, inflammation of the eyes, which required steroid eye drops 4x daily [in addition to her other meds].

Lily went from being drug free to taking medications daily, as well as her weekly shot, which was double the dose she previously used. Because she is only 10, she doesn't remember what it was like when she was diagnosed at 4 years old. That means this entire flare has been a wake up call--like we have been diagnosed with JIA all over again.

She has been struggling daily, both with accepting all of the meds she has to take, as well as being in pain and not always participating in things she would like to be doing. She has developed extreme anxiety when it comes to shot administration, and sensitivities to the smell of alcohol wipes and even the distinctive yellow COLOR of her medication. No lie.

We are confident that we will get her back into a medicated remission type state, but until then, our little girl is exhausted, both mentally and physically, and just wants to be a normal kid again.

info about Anne L
profile for Brooke C Brooke CMetairie, LAI fight forMy daughter, Cora

Cora was diagnosed with JA at 2 years old. It was scary and she was limping really bad because it had settled in one knee. It didn't stop her from running around and being a child but I could tell she had to take breaks more often than other children and by the end of the day she would be complaining of pain. She is 5 1/2 years old now and we have found a medicine that works wonders for her and...

Cora was diagnosed with JA at 2 years old. It was scary and she was limping really bad because it had settled in one knee. It didn't stop her from running around and being a child but I could tell she had to take breaks more often than other children and by the end of the day she would be complaining of pain. She is 5 1/2 years old now and we have found a medicine that works wonders for her and she is doing amazing now but it was a long, hard road. It still is. I know that her case is not as severe as most kids but it's still hard to explain to a child why she needs to take a shot once a week. I never let her know my worries but I worry about her future constantly. I wonder if she will suffer through adulthood. I think of all the things I have done wrong in life for my sins to be passed onto my daughter. Then I look at her and she is one of the happiest, sweetest and sassiest girls I know. She doesn't let any of her ailments slow her down. She really doesn't know any different in life because it is all she has ever known. I pull my strength from her. She is the strongest person I know and she is my hero.

info about Brooke C
profile for Jessica R Jessica RBurleson, TXI fight forMy daughter, Nicole

We fight for our daughter, Nicole. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis just a few weeks after her 4th birthday. She is now 6 years old. When she was first diagnosed she tried medicine to help with her inflammation and pain management. When this didn’t help, her rheumatologist (whom we LOVE) started her on a daily pain medicine along with weekly injections. This helped a great...

We fight for our daughter, Nicole. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis just a few weeks after her 4th birthday. She is now 6 years old. When she was first diagnosed she tried medicine to help with her inflammation and pain management. When this didn’t help, her rheumatologist (whom we LOVE) started her on a daily pain medicine along with weekly injections. This helped a great deal. Nicole has had one joint injection since being diagnosed. This was extremely painful and scary for her.

The past several months, her arthritis has been flaring up even more. At times, it’s gotten to the point where she is unable to walk due to swelling and pain. She gets very tired and cannot do activities for an extended amount of time, without having to stop and take breaks. Recently, her doctor added a new medication (a biologic via weekly injection). It’s very sad, as a parent, to have to give our young daughter two injections each week on top of her daily medications. Nicole has been so very brave.

In the past, she has always done well with her injections and blood draws. Recently, she has started to wonder and ask why she has arthritis? And why she has to get so many shots? We just tell her it’s because God knows she can handle it because she’s so brave. We’ve cried together and prayed together so many times. It amazes us how brave and tough our little Rockstar can be! She is such a trooper! We still pray for a cure!

info about Jessica R
profile for Michelle K (Age 7) Michelle K (Age 7)Billerica , MAI fight forMy daughter

Lyla was diagnosed with JRA after 3 months of antibiotics from an infection. Now under the care of an amazing rheumatology team and an amazing hospital, she is finally getting the right treatment.

Unfortunately with each follow up the ultrasounds continue to show fluid in her knee joint. Every day things like playing, walking, riding a bike can put her down for the count if she skips...

Lyla was diagnosed with JRA after 3 months of antibiotics from an infection. Now under the care of an amazing rheumatology team and an amazing hospital, she is finally getting the right treatment.

Unfortunately with each follow up the ultrasounds continue to show fluid in her knee joint. Every day things like playing, walking, riding a bike can put her down for the count if she skips her meds, and then there's the unpredictable fevers that come and go.

We have only just begun but are hoping for an end! No child should ever be in pain.

profile for Maggie C Maggie CUnion City, CAThis ismy fight

Hello Fellow Warrior and Supporters.

My name is Maggie and I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was only 13 years old. I am now 38 years old, married and with two young daughters.

The first symptom was a swollen middle finger, which my family and I thought was a minor sprain. The swelling did not get any better so my parents took me to the hospital and...

Hello Fellow Warrior and Supporters.

My name is Maggie and I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was only 13 years old. I am now 38 years old, married and with two young daughters.

The first symptom was a swollen middle finger, which my family and I thought was a minor sprain. The swelling did not get any better so my parents took me to the hospital and doctors ran some tests. When we were told it was JRA, we had no clue how my life would change. I was a young, energetic teenager. I was an active Hawaiian/Tahitian dancer. I continued dancing for another 4-5 years until my left elbow was affected. My doctors recommended surgery because the cartilage was deteriorating. The cartilage was replaced with a silicon so I was able to have some mobility. I couldn't dance anymore as I did not have the mobility to stretch out my left arm fully. I was depressed because I loved dance. Another 3 years later my right wrist fused because it was so swollen. I was off and on with medications. Some worked, some did not. I still continue to find the right remedies until this day.

As an adult, my JRA is now considered Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am continuing to find a healthier lifestyle, choosing the right foods and exercise. Although it has been a difficult and painful journey, I find motivation and strength through my children. They have truly lifted my spirits and its is because of them I continue to fight.

To all my RA and JRA Warriors: Stay Strong. Together we can fight this battle.

To my supporters: Thank you for all your unconditional love and support.

profile for Graci D (Age 12) Graci D (Age 12)Tipton , MOThis ismy fight

My name is Graci D and I was diagnosed at 4 with JRA. At the age of 7 after a tough battle with a flare I wanted to do something about my disease and I was ready to fight. I became involved in the Jingle Bell Run and the Arthritis Foundation and after only 5 years of fundraising I raised over $30,000, but I didn't stop there.

In 2015 I was given the honor of the Jingle Bell Run...

My name is Graci D and I was diagnosed at 4 with JRA. At the age of 7 after a tough battle with a flare I wanted to do something about my disease and I was ready to fight. I became involved in the Jingle Bell Run and the Arthritis Foundation and after only 5 years of fundraising I raised over $30,000, but I didn't stop there.

In 2015 I was given the honor of the Jingle Bell Run National Youth Honoree and that year alone I raised $10,700. This was the year a two year remission would end as well and my disease became more aggressive. However, I wanted to do more and was given the opportunity at the age of 11 in 2016 to testify on a bill that would help people dealing with step therapy within the state of Missouri. I quickly found my voice and during the senate hearing in HB 2029 I was very persuasive as to why this bill was important not only to me but for for the thousands of children in the state of Missouri.

This gave me courage and led to many media opportunities like appearing in the CBS Sunday morning news with my mom to bring awareness to the outrageous cost of the drugs needed to keep my JRA under control. I have made documentaries and many videos including one with my hospital which was picked up by a national TV show
.
I have learned at a young age that just because you're a kid it doesn't mean you can't make a difference. I have spent two years now in Washington DC along with other young advocates talking with my representatives and senators about health care for those living with all forms of arthritis including our veterans. In 2017 at the DC Summit I was recognized for my dedication by being awarded the 2016 Emerging Leadership award from the Arthritis Foundation.

I have chosen not to allow my JRA to define me but to take control of it by becoming involved by fundraising, advocating, and raising awareness. I am only 12 and have worked hard to become a great JA warrior for not only myself but others.

profile for Jennifer C Jennifer CPetaluma, CAI fight forMy Son - Shane

Our oldest son, Shane, was diagnosed with poly JIA at the age of 10. The 6 months prior to Shane's 10th birthday saw us visiting our pediatrician on a regular basis. After months of tests and various specialists, we received Shane's diagnosis of JA. During our first rheumy visit I was told about the Arthritis Foundation. I immediately went home and checked out the San Francisco office's website....

Our oldest son, Shane, was diagnosed with poly JIA at the age of 10. The 6 months prior to Shane's 10th birthday saw us visiting our pediatrician on a regular basis. After months of tests and various specialists, we received Shane's diagnosis of JA. During our first rheumy visit I was told about the Arthritis Foundation. I immediately went home and checked out the San Francisco office's website. I found the video of a camp for JA kiddo which I watched and sat and cried. I told Shane, the following summer, I would make sure he went to this camp.

Never in a million years did I imagine our lives would be turned upside by major medical issues for either of our kids. I decided to be proactive from the start and got involved in any way I could. We started Shane's walk team - Team Shane ~ Bazinga!, our whole family volunteers at our local AF events. Our lives were forever changed after attending our first conference in Washington DC back in 2011. We had a huge family and support system.

Seeing your child deal with so much pain, having to do so many tests, being poked on a regular basis for blood, taking countless meds just to help him feel somewhat normal... It changes you. Through his strength, I found strength. I learned to give him shots, when I really didn't want to but knew I had to, to help him feel better. He give me the strength and courage to raise awareness, to advocate for him and the 300,000 JA kiddo, to fundraise so they can find a cure.

Shane is my hero! I am a stronger person because he has shown me how to be stronger. #jawarrior #strongerthanja #Shanemysonmyhero

info about Jennifer C
profile for Julilyn  M (Age 20) Julilyn M (Age 20)East Lansing , MIThis ismy fight

When I was 18 months old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since I was so young I don’t remember being diagnosed or anything like that. But I was told I had stopped walking and crawling and would just sit and cry. It took months before I was diagnosed since arthritis in children was so uncommon. Growing up with JRA has been hard, especially when I was young. People thought I...

When I was 18 months old I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since I was so young I don’t remember being diagnosed or anything like that. But I was told I had stopped walking and crawling and would just sit and cry. It took months before I was diagnosed since arthritis in children was so uncommon. Growing up with JRA has been hard, especially when I was young. People thought I was a liar because arthritis was “only for old people” and I felt very different than all of my friends. There was many times I had to use a wheelchair because it was so bad which made me feel even more different than my friends. Camp Dakota helped me in so many ways. I no longer felt like I was alone or different. It helped me make friends, feel more confident, and learn things about my disease. If you know a child with arthritis, I highly recommend talking to them about going. It truly changed my life for the better. I am 20 years old now and even though I’m still struggling with arthritis I am so much happier and more confident than I was when I was a child.

profile for Norah O (Age 7) Norah O (Age 7)Cincinnati, OHThis ismy fight

My name is Norah, and I'm 7 years old. I was diagnosed with JIA a few weeks after my 2nd birthday. My mom & dad noticed that my knees were swollen when I was about 18 months old, and we spent the next several months visiting lots of specialists until we finally met with the Rheumatology Team at Cincinnati Childrens (they are a fantastic team!). Once I was diagnosed, I had to visit the...

My name is Norah, and I'm 7 years old. I was diagnosed with JIA a few weeks after my 2nd birthday. My mom & dad noticed that my knees were swollen when I was about 18 months old, and we spent the next several months visiting lots of specialists until we finally met with the Rheumatology Team at Cincinnati Childrens (they are a fantastic team!). Once I was diagnosed, I had to visit the rheumatologist and the optometrist every 3 months, but the worst part of my diagnosis was weekly injections. Shot nights were no fun, but I remember that every night that I had to get a shot, I could pick a toy from a goodie box that my uncle made for me. After about three years of weekly injections, my rheumatologist told me that I could start drinking my medicine, instead of doing shots. I was SO happy to get a break from the shots. About a year ago, my doctor told me that I was in remission, which meant that I could finally take a break from my meds!
Ever since my diagnosis with JA, I've never been alone in my fight. My doctors and physical therapists have been awesome, and each year, Team Norah's Reindeer is out in full force to raise money for the Jingle Bell Run.
I'm so grateful that I'm in remission, though I do not know what the future holds. Through it all, I've never stopped dancing, hiking, playing sports and having fun. I can say without a doubt that I am #StongerThanJA

info about Norah O (Age 7)
profile for Leah V (Age 30) Leah V (Age 30)Montgomery, OHI fight forOur son Arlo

We are fighting for our sweet baby Arlo. He was diagnosed at 9 months old and is now 2. We've struggled a lot to find our new normal and we often feel hopeless and sad about what our baby has to go through, but we have also been taught how good our life is! We have amazing support through friends and family and the best sons anyone could ask for. Our Arlo is such a fighter and always has a smile...

We are fighting for our sweet baby Arlo. He was diagnosed at 9 months old and is now 2. We've struggled a lot to find our new normal and we often feel hopeless and sad about what our baby has to go through, but we have also been taught how good our life is! We have amazing support through friends and family and the best sons anyone could ask for. Our Arlo is such a fighter and always has a smile on his face. His big brother is such a good helper and loves him so much. We are grateful and thankful and our hearts are with all the children and parents on the journey with us.

info about Leah V (Age 30)
profile for Kimberlee Y (Age 16) Kimberlee Y (Age 16)Fremont, OHI fight forMy daughter McKenzie

McKenzie was diagnosed with JRA a few years ago. One morning she woke up and actually could not walk. She was in so much pain. Seeing our once bright cheerful child, who twirled baton since the age of 7 not be able to walk was heart breaking. You all know the story of doctors and test, so when we found out exactly what it was we were in disbelief. Hearts were broken and tears pouring and we had...

McKenzie was diagnosed with JRA a few years ago. One morning she woke up and actually could not walk. She was in so much pain. Seeing our once bright cheerful child, who twirled baton since the age of 7 not be able to walk was heart breaking. You all know the story of doctors and test, so when we found out exactly what it was we were in disbelief. Hearts were broken and tears pouring and we had no idea what was to come. Now 16, McKenzie is finally learning to live with her pain. She is a fighter. She made us fight with her. She is a warrior winning the battle of JRA!

info about Kimberlee Y (Age 16)
profile for Charity  D Charity DCanton , NYI fight forMy amazing, fun, kind, smart, awesome and loving son

My son was diagnosed with JIA when he was 2.5 yrs old. We knew something was wrong when he would scream every time he moved his arm wrong. Within a very short period, his arms were locked on a bent position, after x-rays and bloodwork we were given his diagnosis. He started physical therapy shortly after so he could regain movement in his arms. He has been on pretty much every drug on the market...

My son was diagnosed with JIA when he was 2.5 yrs old. We knew something was wrong when he would scream every time he moved his arm wrong. Within a very short period, his arms were locked on a bent position, after x-rays and bloodwork we were given his diagnosis. He started physical therapy shortly after so he could regain movement in his arms. He has been on pretty much every drug on the market being used for arthritis, they work for a period of time and then his body starts working against the meds. He has endured many setbacks, lots of pain, having fluid removed from his joints and numerous injections but he never complains and handles everything like a champ. He has a loss of muscle tone in his left left due to him favoring that leg because of the pain he has in his knee. Even though both his elbows, ankles, knees, hips and back are affected by the arthritis he keeps smiling and cracking jokes about the cards life has dealt him. He doesn’t let anything hold him back. Just this school year he was in an excruciating amount of pain and could barely walk but he got up every morning and went to school without complaining once. Even with all the time he missed in school due to sickness and doctors appointments he mainted an overall 92.6 grade average for the year. He always perseveres through everything and keeps positive attitude. I am so proud to be his mom and it’s because of him I have learned that the most important thing in life is family, everything else is not as important. He wants to go to collage and become a doctor when he graduates from HS because he wants to help kids who are just like him. There was one thing he said to his dad and I that completely blew us away and made us see just how special and amazing our son is, his older brother is a type 1 diabetic (insulin dependent) and he told us that he would rather a cure be found for his brother than for him. We asked why? His response: because I can live in a wheelchair if need be, I just have pain and swelling but it will not kill me but D (his brother) has to take insulin everyday for everything he eats or he will die. He could also die in his sleep, that’s worse than what I have to deal with. He leaves me speechless and filled with pride. I know this kid is destined for something big, he is always thinking of others and putting them first. You will always see him with a smile on his face and cracking jokes, we are truly lucky to have such an awesome kid.

info about Charity  D
profile for Amanda   (Age 33) Amanda (Age 33)Batesville , INThis ismy fight

Almost 30 years ago I was diagnosed with Systematic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I was 6 I remember having a lot of pain, fever and rashes. I had seen several Drs but none could seem to figure out was wrong with me. Finally I was sent to a rheumatologist who quickly admitted me and ran several test. From that moment on my life forever changed. I went through so much pain, and procedures...

Almost 30 years ago I was diagnosed with Systematic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. When I was 6 I remember having a lot of pain, fever and rashes. I had seen several Drs but none could seem to figure out was wrong with me. Finally I was sent to a rheumatologist who quickly admitted me and ran several test. From that moment on my life forever changed. I went through so much pain, and procedures and spent numerous nights in the hospital. I had fluid drained off my knees regularly and received several steroid injections. Until finally I needed a hip replacement at the age of 15. I was told I wouldn't be able to have kids or do normal things. I am now a mother of 2 and have been very active in my adult life. I am however dealing with the toll the arthritis took on my joints as a child. To date I have had 2 hip surgeries, and 2 shoulder replacements. I am hoping to not have any more joint replacement surgeries until I'm older.
My journey hasn't been easy, and it still is a struggle some days, but I am hope that their is a way to live life the way you want. I was a soccer coach,I ride bikes a lot, love to swim and love fishing....all things I couldn't do as a child. Keep fighting, I am still fighting!

profile for Jodi S Jodi SColumbus, OHI fight forSayler

Sayler was diagnosed with JIA in April of 2018 at the age of 20 months. We realized Sayler had something going on around a year in a half when we noticed her limping. After several appointments, we were diagnosed with JIA and quickly realized there were several joints in her sweet, little body that were impacted by arthritis.

Sayler began weekly injection treatment in May and most...

Sayler was diagnosed with JIA in April of 2018 at the age of 20 months. We realized Sayler had something going on around a year in a half when we noticed her limping. After several appointments, we were diagnosed with JIA and quickly realized there were several joints in her sweet, little body that were impacted by arthritis.

Sayler began weekly injection treatment in May and most recently underwent joint injections.

Sayler still has a limp, is unable to bend her ankle, or run, but her arthritis has not stopped her from being an extremely happy girl. Her ability to wake up each day with a smile on her face has put life into perspective for us. She is a true gift and warrior!

#teamsassypants #princessesgetarthritistoo

info about Jodi S
profile for Lilly S (Age 12) Lilly S (Age 12)Bonaire , GAThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed when I was 18 months old. My fight has been had. I go to camp ache away that has helped me meet people who are similar to me. My arthritis is very painful but I have learned to deal with it. I can’t play sports but I can do everything else. I have to get 3 shots a week. I am very thankful that I have a very supportive family who help me cope with my pain.

profile for Jesenia R (Age 8) Jesenia R (Age 8)Moreno valley, CAI fight forMy son Andrew

My son started out with hives all over his body but it seem to only happen at night. As days and months started going by my husband and I said it's not normal anymore. We changed everything on him from laundry detergent to organic food from body wash you name it we did it. So on August 21st we got up to get ready for school when he said "mommy I can't feel my legs" his body was burning hot. I...

My son started out with hives all over his body but it seem to only happen at night. As days and months started going by my husband and I said it's not normal anymore. We changed everything on him from laundry detergent to organic food from body wash you name it we did it. So on August 21st we got up to get ready for school when he said "mommy I can't feel my legs" his body was burning hot. I took him in to the hospital for him to be discharge and to tell me to follow up with an Allergist. so Wednesday came and it was time to see the allergist by now my son was lethargic and my husban had to carry gim in to the room. I tell the doctor my son is not doing well so with or without Your consent I'm taking him back to the hospital. I did and for them to just strart an iv and give him fluids and discharge again. by now I'm going crazy cause my son isn't doing well and all they could tell was well we have no diagnosed so he can't be admitted. We take home so Monday comes around I call his doctor again and say look my son doesn't look good. So to make the story short my son finally got admitted on August 29th 2017 and diagnosed with systematic Juvenile idiopathic arthritis on August 31st 2017. It hasn't been easy seeing my son calm doing nothing when he is a hyper active kid but no could say he is my warrior and I will be with him all the way and so well our mighty god.

profile for Kiaraliz P (Age 7) Kiaraliz P (Age 7)Boston, MAI fight forMy daughter

Kiaraliz was diagnosed with JRA at the age of 2. She doesn't know what is like not to be in pain, but she is a fighter. She is now 7 years old and she is #StrongerThanJA! she perseveres everyday in whatever she sets her mind.

profile for CESAR L (Age 19) CESAR L (Age 19)CUTLER BAY, FLI fight forSOPHIA

Sophia Gonzalez was the Youth Honoree for the 2015 Walk to Cure Arthritis Miami. She is one of the 300,000 kids in America diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. Of Cuban descendant, Sophia is the oldest of four sisters and enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and loves to help others. Most people think of arthritis as an adult medical condition, but many children suffer with it as well....

Sophia Gonzalez was the Youth Honoree for the 2015 Walk to Cure Arthritis Miami. She is one of the 300,000 kids in America diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. Of Cuban descendant, Sophia is the oldest of four sisters and enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and loves to help others. Most people think of arthritis as an adult medical condition, but many children suffer with it as well. Sophia, who learned how to walk at nine months old, suddenly started to drag her leg at age two. At age two and a half, Sophia was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Over the next few years, she was in and out of doctors’ offices and on various different types of biologics. In her fifth and seventh grade years, she suffered especially bad episodes, which resulted in her not being able to play with her classmates or participate in any physical activities. But with the help of physicians, school faculty, and prayers from her family and friends, she overcame it and is currently on mild daily biologics.

In the beginning of her ninth grade year, her interest in arthritis grew more at which point she decided to do her science fair project on the effects of broccoli on arthritis. Sophia worked with ten adults suffering from a wide range of arthritic conditions and got amazing results. She was then selected to participate in the South Florida Science and Engineering Fair where she was awarded an honorable mention for her work and accolades from several medical professionals. She continues to do research in the field as part of other classes and projects.

During the summer and fall, she volunteers at a children's hospital, serving the hospital that has helped her through her most difficult times. She recently became an advocate for the Arthritis Foundation through its Ambassador program. Sophia wants to raise awareness of all types of juvenile arthritis and find a cure for arthritis so people do not have to suffer in the ways she and so many others have!

Sophia graduated with honors (Class or 2017) and is going off to college!

profile for Meredith B (Age 16) Meredith B (Age 16)Montgomery, ALThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with JIA when I was four years old. I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 14. Everyday is a choice, and I want to make the most of my life. Arthritis does not define me, It is just a part of me. My arthritis has given me many opportunities to share my story, and to fund-raise for my local arthritis chapter. I created a team called "Ladybugs for Arthritis" and over a three...

I was diagnosed with JIA when I was four years old. I was diagnosed with psoriasis when I was 14. Everyday is a choice, and I want to make the most of my life. Arthritis does not define me, It is just a part of me. My arthritis has given me many opportunities to share my story, and to fund-raise for my local arthritis chapter. I created a team called "Ladybugs for Arthritis" and over a three year period, raised over a hundred thousand dollars for the arthritis foundation. I have arthritis in my knees, neck, jaw, elbows. I will have to have reconstructive surgery on my jaw when I stop growing because the arthritis has deformed my jaw. I do a shot every two weeks and take daily pills. No day is without pain. When my body was growing up, I would start a medicine, it would work well for two years, then my body would become immune to it. I have gone through 5 medications and the one I am on now has worked for me for three years. I hope this is the medication that will work for me. Arthritis has helped me find the career that I want to pursue which is Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy has helped me in so many ways to maintain movement. I hope my story encourages anyone who reads it and encourages you to keep fighting. Arthritis does not define you!

info about Meredith B (Age 16)
profile for Krista J (Age 10) Krista J (Age 10)San Antonio, TXThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis when I was about 7 years old. I knew something was wrong when I was little. I was adopted when I was 3 and no one knew much about my history so we begin to look for answers.

At the age of 4 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis. My stomach does not empty the food I eat like it should and I don’t absorb the vitamins. I can’t eat and...

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis when I was about 7 years old. I knew something was wrong when I was little. I was adopted when I was 3 and no one knew much about my history so we begin to look for answers.

At the age of 4 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis. My stomach does not empty the food I eat like it should and I don’t absorb the vitamins. I can’t eat and drink certain foods and I have to take vitamin supplements. My gastroenterologist, was amazing and although I was doing better, she knew there was something more and referred me to my rheumatologist.

It all made sense. The arthritis affects my wrists, fingers, hips and ankles. I would sometimes wake up limping because my hip hurt and no one knew why. Doctors would say it was a pull, or just “growing pains”. My arthritis makes school hard for me. I have trouble writing and my fingers and wrists get tired faster than other kids. It is hard to read my writing. I can’t hold my pencil for very long without it hurting. If I walk for long distances I get tired and my legs hurt from the arthritis in my hips and ankles. Sometimes the teachers just don’t understand because I look and act like any other student and you cannot tell anything is wrong.

I have received many years of physical and occupational therapy. We tried medications to help make my arthritis better but they didn’t work, so about once a year my doctor puts me under anesthesia and gives me injections of steroid and antibiotic directly into the joints of my wrists and ankles to make them move better. It makes a huge difference for a while, but wears slowly over about 10 month’s time. Then we do it again.

This year I got involved with the Arthritis Foundation. I want to help raise money and awareness for other kids like me who are living with arthritis. he Arthritis Foundation offers classes and information for my family and can help my teachers understand better too. Last year I got involved in pageants. When I won my current title, I knew this was also a way to bring awareness to Juvenile Arthritis. I like to act, sing and dance. I like to jump on my trampoline and make music videos with my friends.

Living with arthritis isn’t always easy. I can’t hold my arms up for a long time without tiring and I can’t jump as long without breaks, but I want others to know that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

info about Krista J (Age 10)
profile for Kylie  M (Age 15) Kylie M (Age 15)Hauppauge, NYThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at age 8, then with Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome at age 13. Through the years I've been on injections and infusions of many forms of chemo and biologics.

I am currently able to participate in varsity cheerleading and dance at my school, as well as the music ministry at my church. I'm also a high honor student....

I was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at age 8, then with Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome at age 13. Through the years I've been on injections and infusions of many forms of chemo and biologics.

I am currently able to participate in varsity cheerleading and dance at my school, as well as the music ministry at my church. I'm also a high honor student. I am #StrongerThanArthritis! Thanks to the Arthritis Foundation for conferences and camps for showing me that I'm not alone, and for introducing me to my best friends!

profile for Evan S (Age 27) Evan S (Age 27)Latham, NYThis ismy fight

Some of my earliest memories are of my experiences with JRA. I was diagnosed around 3-4 years old. I remember near constant joint pain, debilitating to the point where I didn't want anyone to touch me. I even asked my dad to get me a walker.

Throughout elementary and middle school I struggled to have enough energy to stay awake in classes because I'd have a fever and sluggishness...

Some of my earliest memories are of my experiences with JRA. I was diagnosed around 3-4 years old. I remember near constant joint pain, debilitating to the point where I didn't want anyone to touch me. I even asked my dad to get me a walker.

Throughout elementary and middle school I struggled to have enough energy to stay awake in classes because I'd have a fever and sluggishness around the same time each day (roughly 1-2 pm). I loved sports but sports didn't necessarily love me. I played year round soccer and hockey most of the year. I slowly had to stop playing all sports by the time I reached high school because the pain outweighed the enjoyment. I remember having a really difficult time just walking up the stairs.

Most of my treatment was stretching and taking prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. One of the most difficult parts of JRA was trying to get through school, dropping out of sports, and my friends wondering why. JRA was very personal and I did not like to share it with many people which made the conversations difficult. At 27 I still have symptoms but they have subsided a bit. The one thing that has surprised me at this stage, after being involved in therapy, is how it has effected my mental health. It's important to explore all avenues of your JRA and how it effects your body and mind.

profile for Karol S (Age 53) Karol S (Age 53)West Hollywood, CAThis ismy fight

I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 13. That was...MANY years ago now. I was scared and in terrible pain all the time. My JRA affected every joint in my body.

My journey with arthritis has been pretty challenging. I've had to have a lot of surgery. But despite that, I live an independent life and am generally pretty happy. My struggle has made me a strong, determined, and...

I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 13. That was...MANY years ago now. I was scared and in terrible pain all the time. My JRA affected every joint in my body.

My journey with arthritis has been pretty challenging. I've had to have a lot of surgery. But despite that, I live an independent life and am generally pretty happy. My struggle has made me a strong, determined, and resourceful human being.

The worst part of having arthritis as a kid was how horribly alone I felt. I didn't meet another young person with arthritis until I was 21. I'm so glad kids diagnosed today have lots of ways to connect with others kids struggling with arthritis. The newer medications now available also mean kids diagnosed today will likely not suffer as much damage as I did, and for that, I'm truly grateful.