charcandrick west jia

Every Catch Deserves a Touchdown Dance

Charcandrick West, professional football player with Louisiana roots, gets real about what keeps him going, how no hurdle is too high and why he likes to win on and off the field.

Q1: When did you realize you wanted to play football professionally?

I don’t remember the first moment I grasped a football, but the second I did, probably around age 6, I was hooked. I still remember being a kid, looking up from the field and seeing my mom and dad cheer me on. It was a thrill to know I was making people in the stands happy by giving the game my all.

I knew that I had the “it” factor – and my parents believed in me, too, which made all the difference in the world. My goal was to leave my legacy in my hometown of Cullen, Louisiana, and graduate to the “bigs.”

Continue reading Every Catch Deserves a Touchdown Dance

Double Take: Twins with RA Fight It Together

Identical twins Annamarie and Ginamarie Russo share many qualities: They look and sound alike, they love acting and traveling – and both have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

For almost two decades, RA was one thing the twins, 31, did not share. Ginamarie was diagnosed with juvenile RA (now called juvenile idiopathic arth­ritis) when she was 12; Annamarie was diagnosed 18 years later, at age 30.

Continue reading Double Take: Twins with RA Fight It Together

walk to cure arthritis 2018

Spotlight on Kenley Huss: Walk to Cure Arthritis National Youth Honoree

Kenley Huss and her family are superstars in the fight against arthritis, holding nothing back in their personal quest to conquer it.

The Huss family first came face to face with the disease in 2010 when Kenley, then just over a year old, was diagnosed with oligoarticular juvenile arthritis (JA). It wreaked havoc on her knees and several other joints, as well as caused unexplained fevers and pain that no toddler should experience.

Continue reading Spotlight on Kenley Huss: Walk to Cure Arthritis National Youth Honoree

anna legassie walk to cure arthritis

Anna Legassie: Still in the Race

The doctor’s prognosis was gloomy. “You should put your daughter in a wheelchair now, so she can adapt to being disabled,” he told Anna Legassie’s mother. Anna, 11 at the time, had just been diagnosed with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (SJRA, known today as systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis).

Now 34, Anna recalls those words often. Like on that hot summer day in 2015 when she crossed the finish line of her first Spartan Race, a grueling five-mile dash that involved climbing walls, crawling through mud and overcoming other obstacles. A fitting metaphor for a woman who hasn’t let the challenges of arthritis stop her from living a full life.

Continue reading Anna Legassie: Still in the Race

kathryn leigh scott osteoarthritis

Kathryn Leigh Scott: Out of the Shadows

It’s early morning in Los Angeles, and actress Kathryn Leigh Scott, despite a long flight from New York the day before, has finished her morning walk before heading to wardrobe for her new film, The Eleventh Green. At 74, she exercises every day, which has helped her stay fit – and recover quickly after two hip replacements.

While Kathryn is often remembered for her roles in the television soap opera Dark Shadows, a cult hit that ran from 1966 to 1971, her acting career spans over 50 years, with a wide range of roles in television and movies. In addition, she has authored six books, both fiction and nonfiction.

Continue reading Kathryn Leigh Scott: Out of the Shadows

anna year end giving 2017

Anna Neu: Fighting for Childhood

Anna Neu is 8 years old and holds a title she’d rather not have – the youngest person ever diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t plagued by pain in her spine and hips, the telltale sign of her disease. Diagnosed as a toddler, Anna has good days and bad, but often, she’s sidelined by a form of arthritis most people don’t even realize affects children.

“Anna started complaining of bugs biting her back and waking up screaming in the middle of the night when she was just 2 years old,” says her mom, Emily. “She would stop and sit when the family was out for a walk around the block and say, ‘I have no more runs left’ or ‘my engine ran out.’”

Despite the pain, she’s a brave girl, working hard to help doctors learn more about her disease and how to best treat it. A regular study participant at the National Institutes of Health, Anna is hoping she will help researchers find better treatments, and one day a cure, for AS.
Continue reading Anna Neu: Fighting for Childhood

peyton holstein arthritis foundation giving

A Generation of Giving

Each year as the leaves begin to fall and the weather gets a few degrees cooler, Peyton Holstein of Lake Oswego, Oregon, along with her older brother, Tobias and four of their cousins, begin researching both local and national charity organizations. While it is easy to assume this is for a school assignment, it’s not. Each cousin is readying their pitch for a unique family Thanksgiving tradition.

Approximately eight years ago, Peyton and Tobias’ great uncle Ron began donating to different charities in the six cousins’ names for Christmas. When the kids were younger, he chose a charity and presented each child with the donation made in their name along with an explanation of how their charitable gift will help the organization. One year it was a donation of goats to a village in Africa that would help provide the village with milk and fertilizer for crops and gardens. Another year after the earthquake in Haiti, it was a gift of water and rice to fulfill the basic needs of a devastated community.

As the kids grew older, Uncle Ron asked each of them to find their own cause and research the organization – from an organization’s mission to charity rating, how much per dollar is invested to how they intend to use the donation, and make their pitch at the family Thanksgiving get together. The six cousins, ages 10-24 years old, listen to one another, embark on a discussion, make ballots and vote between themselves. The Arthritis Foundation was the overwhelming choice for this year’s donation!

Continue reading A Generation of Giving