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Juvenile Arthritis Conference

Hope Grows Here: Highlights from the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference

That’s a wrap, folks! After four incredible days of educational sessions, networking opportunities, tears, joy and tears of joy, the 2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference is officially in the books!

The Opening Dinner was truly spectacular, as the room filled with 1,700 parents, kids and caregivers eager to greet old friends and meet new ones.  When Ana Villafañe took the stage, she wowed everybody in the room – her amazing talent and true passion for kids with JA were spellbinding.

The official programming kicked off Friday morning in grand style, with an overview of the new Arthritis Foundation brand and some amazing JA success stories by Ann Palmer, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation and Board Chairman, Michael Ortman. Mark Durand’s Optimistic Parenting presentation gave all parents tangible ideas for using positive self-talk to improve parenting effectiveness and create happier lives!       Friday Fun Night provided different activities for all age groups ranging from a glow party to poolside fun!

Saturday  kicked off early with a wonderful opening session recognizing some amazing individuals. Ann Palmer and Michael Ortman presented Awards of Excellence to both youth and adult leaders, along with professional and medical leadership recognition. Saturday’s General Session gave us all an educational introduction to our new research partner, the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), and the important role parents can play in research going forward.  More breakouts gave parents, young adults and kids a chance to learn about  research, advocacy and more!
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Juvenile Arthritis Conference

2015 Juvenile Arthritis Conference: Highlights From Day 1

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!

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