Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)March 1, 2015
Now referred to as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is a subset of arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of physical disability, that attacks children of all ages. Having only been formally classified in the US since the 1970s, there is a lot about JRA that medical researchers are still unsure of. In fact, in just the amount of time from when I was diagnosed until now, the disease’s name itself has changed. When I was thirteen years old I was diagnosed with a form of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis that was at the time called Still’s Disease. Now known as Systemic JIA, this subset attacks the entire body, not just the joints. Symptoms for me included high fevers, painful rashes, stiffness and swelling of the joints, and severe joint pain. Systemic JIA accounts for nearly 10% of all JIA cases and is commonly found in both girls and boys. While genetic predispositions to rheumatoid arthritis may help to cause JIA, other environmental factors are needed to trigger those genes and therefore the onset of the disease. Because JIA is an autoimmune disease, researchers have been and are still looking into what those environmental factors are that prompt the immune system in the body to start attacking itself in the form of JIA.
I am one of the lucky ones that went into remission after a short time. But there are many children, and adults alike, who suffer from JIA who have not been so lucky. Even those in remission still feel the long term effects of having been diagnosed with JIA, as I do everyday. I consider their struggle my own and hope to do all I can to help anyone affected by this disease to find some ease and relief.
For all of these reasons I have decided to participate in the LA Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 30th. Please consider donating any way that you can. Join my team and walk with us or, if able, contribute to the funds we are raising for this cause. Your donations do make a difference.
Visit my personal page to learn more about the walk and/or to make a donation. Everybody deserves to live pain free and you can help us reach that goal.
As always, even some good energy sent to the cause helps! If you are unable to contribute financially, simply taking five minutes to hold space for those affected by JIA with the intent of providing them with relief, ease, and healing is just as beneficial.