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
Charcandrick West has juvenile arthritis. Now he’s dodging tackles in the NFL.
It’s a scene fans of the Kansas City Chiefs football team know well: Charcandrick West crashes into a tackler, spins and breaks free, then shifts into high gear as he races downfield. Yet Charcandrick, now in his fourth season as a running back for the Chiefs, never forgets that he has faced a more challenging opponent: systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA). It appeared at age 14, and symptoms became so severe that one doctor predicted the teen might never walk again, much less play football.
Continue reading Unstoppable: Charcandrick West’s Story
People climb mountains for many reasons. For some, it’s a test of physical strength and endurance. For others, it’s for the rush and exhilaration. For Alex Jakobson, it was to prove to himself that he can overcome the pain and limitations of arthritis.
Alex was living a great life when arthritis reared its ugly head. He was 35 years old, married to his sweetheart and living in France where he enjoyed a very social and active lifestyle.
Continue reading Climbing Mountains to Conquer Arthritis
When Mariah Aquino-Truss was just five years old, she was in so much pain each day she told her mom, Tory, that she “didn’t want to be here anymore.” Imagine hearing such an admission from your young daughter who was newly diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis (JA) known as polyarticular spondyloarthropathy.
Polyarticular spondyloarthropathy is a juvenile form of ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic, long term disease that affects the joints, ligaments, tendons and entheses. Shocked, saddened and ferociously determined to help Mariah and her family, Tory set out to find help – a road that led her to the Arthritis Foundation.
Continue reading A Dream Come True – Meet Our 2017 National Youth Honoree Mariah Aquino-Truss
Kathryn Sundquist is 16 years old, lives in Brainerd, Minnesota and has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. To say she and her family live active lifestyles would be an understatement. Her mom enjoys yoga, running and participating in triathlons. Her dad is an avid biker. Her adult brothers enjoy 4-wheeling, hunting, fishing, and tennis. They all enjoy any reason to be outside!
Continue reading Fundraising is a Family Endeavor for Kathryn Sundquist, Our 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis National Young Adult Honoree
As a believer in living a full life and being a Champion of Yes, we asked Tom Walker – who has experienced highs and lows and endured it all – a few lighthearted, personal questions.
Continue reading Up Close and Personal with our Walk to Cure Arthritis National Adult Honoree Tom Walker
When you meet Amy McCormick and her daughter, Kylie, of Hauppauge, New York, you instantly feel as though you’ve known them for years. They both consistently greet you with warm smiles and joyful hellos, chatting about their love of Hamilton, the arts and their newly adopted rescue puppy named Autumn.
Continue reading Champions of Yes: Amy and Kylie McCormick Form a Dynamic Duo to Tackle Juvenile Arthritis
Born on July 4, Geoff and Sara Morthland called red-haired Ellery their “firecracker,” but at 19 months old, only Ellery’s knees were inflamed. They soon discovered the reason: juvenile arthritis (JA).
“I felt so powerless, Sara Morthland, Ellery’s mother, said. “I couldn’t make it go away.”
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana resident turned emotion into action and searched for a fundraiser supporting an arthritis cure. When she discovered Walk to Cure Arthritis, Sara was elated—only to learn Louisiana did not have a Walk.
Continue reading Volunteer Kick-Starts Successful Louisiana Walk To Cure Arthritis Event
Meaghan Victory grew up in an active family that spent their summers camping and hiking, and winters in the snowy mountains next to their Issaquah, Washington home.
When she was around eight years old, Meaghan was involved in a sledding accident and sprained her right wrist. For six months after the accident, the pain in her wrist never went away. While on vacation in the summer, her mother was putting sunscreen on her arm and noticed Meaghan in significant pain. Unsure of what was going on, her pediatrician referred Meaghan to Seattle Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the young age of nine years old.
Continue reading Champion of Yes: Meaghan Victory Uses Patient Experience to Propel Nursing Career Dreams
Tom Walker, Walk to Cure Arthritis national adult honoree and former MLB pitcher, claims that it’s truly “mind over matter” when it comes to his osteoarthritis (OA) pain. Every day, he rises up and pushes forward, despite the obstacles – like having a harder time walking – that challenge him.
Continue reading Meet Our National Walk to Cure Arthritis Adult Honoree: Former MLB Pitcher Tom Walker!