On July 23, families will make their way to Orlando, Florida, for the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference. It’s an unforgettable annual family event, where more than a thousand kids, teens and young adults with arthritis, and their parents and siblings, come together to meet, learn and play.
“Hope Grows Here,” the theme for this year’s event, is all about hope and creating more moments of Yes! What’s your greatest hope? We asked this of kids from all over. “No more pain, no more swelling, no more shots, a cure for arthritis” captures many of the responses we received. Our Juvenile Arthritis Conference offers a chance for families to meet others who are going through similar challenges; they share stories, learn about the latest treatments and research, and strategies for managing daily activities and developmental and social issues. Most will tell you it is even more than that. By the end of the four-day conference, “hope” will have grown in kids and their families. Friendships will be formed, smiles shared, memories created, which will last a lifetime – and everyone will be counting the days until the next Juvenile Arthritis Conference happens.
Theme nights will get everyone in the spirit! On opening night, everyone will wear their state shirts or favorite sports team gear. On Friday night, to celebrate “Hope Grows Here,”, “flower power” will be displayed. Attendees will be adding a flower to their outfit, or dressing in their groovy sixties fashion, to represent peace, love and HOPE. On Saturday night, for the big group photo, everyone will be wearing their “Hope Grows Here” shirt. On the final night, by tradition, individuals will be sporting their Walk to Cure Arthritis or Jingle Bell Run/Walk team shirts.
Families can attend Doc-in-the-Box, where parents can talk one-on-one with doctors and speakers at the conference. Kids will love the Band-Aid art, caring canine therapy dogs and scavenger hunts, just to name a few special moments. Young adults can learn to cook healthy, on a dime, with little time. Teens can join in on journaling – while parents can attend “Seeing JA through Siblings’ Eyes,” and much, much more.
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. We exist to conquer arthritis and other childhood rheumatic diseases. We’ve been meeting the unique and urgent needs of families for nearly 70 years. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 children have JA or other rheumatic conditions. Multiply that by their parents, siblings, extended family and others, and the number of people affected is astronomical. The Arthritis Foundation is renewing our unwavering promise to assist them and their caregivers. We’re boldly leading the JA fight, ensuring easy access to life-changing resources, community and care.
- The Arthritis Foundation Helps Families Cope With JA
- July is National Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month