Deadline Fast Approaching for JA Conference Travel Awards!

Year after year, the Arthritis Foundation’s National Juvenile Arthritis Conference has brought kids with rheumatic diseases and their families together for a weekend full of education, inspiration and connecting with others on a similar journey.

For many families, it may not be feasible to plan for a weekend conference that, depending on where you may live, might include extensive travel. The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to offer limited financial assistance to families wishing to attend the JA Conference who meet certain criteria.

2019 JA Conference Travel Award applications close tomorrow, February 26.

FAQ’s:

  1. How long does it take to complete a Travel Award application?

They are relatively quick and painless, but we’d recommend setting aside a good 20 minutes to complete the form. All information is relevant to the application and review process, and we want to make sure we are getting complete information.

  1. Are Travel Awards solely based on fundraising activities?

No! While we do ask for any fundraising information you and your family may have done throughout the year, this is not the sole criteria for receiving a Travel Award. Applicants are scored by an independent committee on various levels of engagement with the Arthritis Foundation – whether you are an advocate, Platinum Ambassador, committee volunteer or participate in local events.

  1. I don’t want to go to the nearest JA Conference location, can I just request the one I want?

In order to stay within our allocated costs, we ask that you choose the conference closest to you unless there is a viable reason for choosing otherwise. By doing this, it ensures we are able to provide the maximum amount of Travel Awards to recipients.

From some of our recent attendees and travel award recipients:

“We were so thrilled to be able to take part in this year’s Seattle conference. Had it not been for our scholarship, we would never have been able to afford the trip. We made new friends, understand Lana’s disease—and potential treatments/coping strategies—better, and were blessed to have had Lana participate in a group project/experience that we believe she will remember for the rest of her life. Our son has more compassion and understanding for his sister now, too. Thank you for making such a positive impact on our lives.”

“On behalf of our family, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for providing us with a travel award to come to the Juvenile Arthritis Conference this year in D.C.  My daughter was diagnosed with Oligoarticular JIA 5 years ago.  We had heard about how wonderful the JA Conference was but had never been able to work out our schedule to attend until this year. We knew that it would going to be an amazing experience for our family, but we had no idea how life changing it would be. Being parents of a child with JIA can be very isolating, especially when you only know a handful of other families like you. I can’t put into words how it felt to be in a room full of hundreds of people who understand our story and have lived through what we live through. We truly felt for the first time that we were not alone.”

 “A small light is turned on into your darkness when you connect with the Arthritis Foundation.  Opportunities are presented to you for learning, connecting, and managing this new road.  Your light becomes a little brighter with each new opportunity.  One day you learn about National Conference and your now 11-year-old gets overwhelmingly excited about the idea of attending.  You want to be excited too, yet you understand you just can’t afford to go at this time.  You decide to take a chance and apply for the travel awards and you say a little prayer as you send it off in hopes that somehow, someway it will happen for your daughter.  Then one day an email arrives, and you learn that your family was chosen to attend and tears of joy flow freely in your home when you see the light in your daughters’ eyes. Conference was simply amazing.”

 “We received travel awards the first few years and was the primary reason for us going to our first conference back in 2011. It was just me and the boys. From the moment of registration and the opening evening, I knew the JA Conference was going to be life changing. We went home and told [my husband] we were going the next year so he could experience what we had. It proved so beneficial for him the next year because he was still somewhat in denial of [our son’s] JA. The information we’ve received has been so helpful but the connections we’ve all made have been life changing. We have a HUGE JA family now. I’m so thankful for that first scholarship and what it’s done for our family.”

The 2019 JA Conference will take place on July 18 – 21, 2019 in Houston, Texas at the Hilton America’s Houston and on August 1 – 4, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. Early-bird Conference Registration is already open if you are not applying for a Travel Award.

For the latest news and updates, be sure check the JA Conference website and follow along on our Facebook page!

If you have additional questions about JA Conference Travel Awards, please contact Katie Bitner at kbitner@arthritis.org or 404-965-7538.

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