Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) when she was four years old, Graci has endured multiple lab tests, biopsies, injections and medications. In spite of all that, she has often remained — in her mom’s words — outgoing, funny, athletic and honest. But during a particularly bad flare when she was seven years old, her parents saw a drastic change in their daughter.
“Graci’s knee, ankle and hip flared up, and she found herself struggling to walk and keep up with her classmates,” recalls Anna, Graci’s mother. “This left her in a wheelchair for a period of time. We could see her spirit starting to fade, and we could see her slipping into depression.”