Meet Kaylee – this ambitious 18-year-old from Minnesota is one of the 50 million Americans living with arthritis. At the young age of four, she developed juvenile arthritis in her ankles. After the arthritis spread to her wrists and back, Kaylee and her parents embarked on a long journey to find a medication that would ease her pain with minimal side effects. After finding a successful treatment plan, Kaylee still has to stretch often while practicing piano and playing volleyball, which also helps with stiffness. “It’s always hard to hear people say, ‘I thought arthritis was something only older people get,’” says Kaylee. “I want people to know that kids get arthritis, too.” The Arthritis Foundation, a member agency of Community Health Charities, supports the 1 in 5 adults and 300,000 children living with arthritis.
Arthritis is a term used to describe more than 100 different conditions that affect joints, as well as other parts of the body. Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nation’s leading cause of physical disability. Juvenile arthritis (JA) refers to any form of arthritis or related condition that develops in children or teenagers under the age of 18.
July is National Juvenile Arthritis Month. The Arthritis Foundation will hold its annual national Juvenile Arthritis Conference in St. Louis July 19-22. Families impacted by juvenile arthritis come from all over the country to attend the conference. Sessions are focused on JA issues for parents, siblings and the kids and young adults themselves who live with JA.
The Arthritis Foundation is the only national, non-profit health organization helping people take greater control of arthritis by leading efforts to prevent, control and cure arthritis and related diseases. The Arthritis Foundation Upper Midwest Region (AFUMR) includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin and supports the more than 2.1 million people living with arthritis within the region.
The AFUMR provides numerous outlets for children like Kaylee to meet their peers who deal with similar obstacles. Camp M.A.S.H. (August 4-9 in Wisconsin Dells) is a residential camp that teaches 85 local kids about the importance of exercise, nutrition, managing their pain and having fun. At various locations across the AFUMR, monthly Juvenile Arthritis Family Network (JAFN) meetings are held as an opportunity for kids with arthritis and their siblings to get acquainted and have fun while parents and speakers network with one another on a variety of topics related to JA.
For more information about arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation and the Juvenile Arthritis Conference, go to www.arthritis.org. To learn about location specific programs and services, search by state.
Source: Arthritis Foundation
The Health Matters at Work employee engagement program developed by Community Health Charities brings employers and employees together, so both can benefit from the combined power of the nation’s most trusted health charities.
Follow us on Twitter @healthcharities and connect to credible health information, local volunteer opportunities and employee giving campaigns that make it easier to support the health causes most important to you and your family.