The National Juvenile Arthritis Conference is well known for its ability to bring kids with rheumatic diseases and their families together for a weekend full of hope, inspiration and connections. The one question that gets asked the most is – “but how do we afford to get there?” For many families dealing with a constant stream of medical expenses, it may not be feasible to plan for a weekend conference that, depending on where you may live, might include extensive travel.
Lisa Palm and her “warrior”, Savannah of Cold River, California attended the 2016 JA Conference in Phoenix on scholarship. Lisa says, “We attended the Phoenix conference this year on a scholarship and it was such a wonderful experience!! This was our first conference and it was life changing for my JA daughter. She was diagnosed at age 2 and is 19 now and has never met anyone her age before with JA. She was always embarrassed to tell people what she had and always hid her pills from everyone. Now she is proud to share her story and has signed up to be an [Arthritis Foundation] advocate. Thank you so much for the scholarship, it means so much to our family.”
The Arthritis Foundation is pleased to offer limited financial assistance to families wishing to attend the 2017 JA Conference in Houston, Texas or Indianapolis, IN. Scholarship applications are open to both children and their families (up to 4 people) and young adults (ages 18-25). Again this year, there are additional scholarships available for children and families interested in participating in a Comparative Effectiveness Research session at the JA Conference. This scholarship opportunity is in addition to Arthritis Foundation scholarship opportunities, and is available to all interested applicants.
The Cupp Family from Charlotte, North Carolina attended the Philadelphia conference, and said, “Where to begin when ” Thank You” seems so inadequate. We were so happy to be able to attend the 2016 JA Conference this year. I really believe that it was the perfect time for our daughter to connect with peers experiencing the same journey. You may go to conference expecting one or two things but you walk away with experiences, knowledge and a HOPE that you never really imagined.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for helping our family make our way to Philadelphia.”
A committee of Arthritis Foundation volunteers and staff review anonymous applications across the country, and no member of the committee may apply for or be awarded a scholarship. Priority will be given to families and/or young adults who are engaged with the Arthritis Foundation through advocacy, local JA initiatives and events, demonstrate a financial need/burden and/or are new to the Arthritis Foundation or are first time attendees.
“Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for awarding our family a scholarship to attend the JA Conference 2016 in Philadelphia, PA. We have never attended a conference before. Our 16-year-old daughter Kailey has polyarticular JIA and fibromyalgia,” notes the Hartley family of Limestone, Tennessee. “The most important and wonderful part was seeing our daughter some out of her shell, spread her wings and fly. Normally she is shy and stays off to herself because no one can relate to her. I’ve never seen such a huge smile on her face like the one at conference. She met new people and gained some lifelong friends. She has been so excited and unafraid to share about herself and JIA with others. She’s even planning some speaking events with some of our local colleges that have nursing and medical doctor programs.”
Scholarship applications for the 2017 JA Conferences will open on January 4, 2017 and are due by February 26, 2017. Stay connected with us on Facebook for the latest updates!