The 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference is off to a great start! On Thursday, we had a busy day of registration, orientation, and a bustling hall full of informational booths. Later that evening, families dressed in their finest gear to champion their state. 47 states were represented!
Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Ann Palmer, along with Board Chairman Michael Ortman, welcomed over 1,700 attendees. Ana Villafañe wowed the crowd and sang a medley of songs while talking about her experiences growing up going to JA Camps, Walks and other Arthritis Foundation activities. Ana was amazing and so inspiring to all of the families here! After some networking sessions, the first day was officially in the books!
Friday will be a full day of disease-specific and other informational breakout sessions for parents, while the YA program will feature a special panel led by successful young adults. The kids are enjoying a full day of activities – from Canine Companions to Scavenger Hunts – and having a good time seeing old friends and meeting new ones! Here are some highlights from our first day of the conference in the video below!
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.