Did you know that? I had no idea, until I met Julia. Our families first got to know each other about four years ago, and finding out that Julia has juvenile arthritis was a surprise to me. I never realized that kids can get arthritis. After getting to know Julia, I can tell you that she is a delightful girl, a typical fun-loving seven year old, and she faces the challenges of juvenile arthritis.
Researchers are studying the possible causes of juvenile arthritis in order to improve diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately to cure juvenile arthritis. I wanted to share with you because, as you know, research is costly. The first step in raising funds for research is raising awareness. We can’t help with something we don’t know about.
Juvenile Arthritis Facts (from The Arthritis Foundation)
Impact of Juvenile Arthritis:
* Approximately 294,000 children under the age of 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions.
* Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States.
* Arthritis and related conditions, such as juvenile arthritis, cost the U.S. economy nearly $128 billion per year in medical care and indirect expenses, including lost wages and productivity.
Common Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis
* Pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of joints, causing limited range of motion.
* Joint contracture, which results from holding a painful joint in a flexed position for an extended period.
* Damage to joint cartilage and bone leading to joint deformity and impaired use of the joint.
* Altered growth of bone and joints leading to short stature.
* Physical Therapy
* Eye care
* Dental Care
* Proper Nutrition
* Surgery (rarely)
Due to impact on Strength, Mobility and Endurance, kids may be feeling:
* Desire to be like their peers
* Pain and fatigue from disease symptoms
* Anger and depression about the restrictions imposed by the disease
* Embarrassment about having the disease
So, how can you and I help?
Well, like I said before, awareness is a great first step. We can tell others about Juvenile Arthritis and The Arthritis Foundation.
If you live in the Minneapolis area, you can consider walking at the Juvenile Arthritis March on Saturday, March 5, or just making a donation if you can’t be there. The event raises funds for arthritis research and health education. The Juvenile Arthritis March (JAM) will be held at the Mall of America at 8 am on March 5, and you can find out more or donate here.
Here are a few pictures from last year’s event:
If you live in another area, you can look for, and participate in, Arthritis Foundation fundraising events in your area.
Thank you for reading and for considering making a donation for arthritis research and education.