Columbus Arthritis Center
Shannon Ghizzoni is a physician assistant at Columbus Arthritis Center (CAC). She has practiced as a physician assistant and worked at CAC for 12 years. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Health and Fitness Management at Capital University where she also played soccer for 4 years. She then received a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at The Ohio State University. After graduating from OSU, she obtained a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences/ Physician Assistant Studies at the Medical College of Ohio.
Ms. Ghizzoni had an interest in rheumatology long before becoming a physician assistant. She has multiple family members who have been effected with various rheumatological conditions. As she started in rheumatology, she found the complex immune system involved in many autoimmune diseases extremely fascinating and intriguing. She also realized the huge impact in her patients’ lives that could be made by effectively treating these autoimmune diseases, decreasing the associated symptoms, and increasing physical functioning in her patients. She is passionate about finding a cure for the various forms of arthritis because she cares deeply about her patients and understands how a cure could change the lives of so many who deal with the symptoms, expense, and comorbidities associated with the many different types of rheumatological conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Ms. Ghizzoni is originally from Hubbard, OH but has lived in Columbus for more than 20 years. She is married and recently gave birth to her daughter, Mia. Outside of rheumatology, she loves to be active and be outdoors including playing soccer, rock climbing, and hiking.
Degenerative Disc Disease, Bone Spurs, and Stenosis
Christine Togni was “introduced” to the Arthritis Foundation in 1993, 25 years ago. In 1991, as a 41 year old wife and mother of 3, she began to experience symptoms of extreme pain and weakness in both arms. Chris’ quality of life declined greatly over the next 2 years. Pain medication, physical therapy, and various other treatment plans did not bring her relief, and in 1993, she lost the use of both arms.
Further testing revealed degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, and stenosis. Surgery was highly recommended, and in November, 1993, Chris had 3 discs in her neck removed, which were replaced with cadaver bone, and a fusion was performed. During her recovery, she wore a neck brace for 12 weeks. The surgery had been a success!
She was encouraged to call the Arthritis Foundation to ask for their help in finding a pool which offered Aquatic exercises taught by a certified leader from the AF. Chris found a class, attended regularly, loved the exercises and slowly began to regain her strength and mobility. Eventually, Chris was given a clean bill of health and was told she could attend a more strenuous (cardio) water aerobics class. In 1995 she became certified to teach Arthritis Aquatics classes. Chris has continued teaching Arthritis Aquatics classes and she currently is an instructor at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center in Reynoldsburg, OH.
Chris has supported the Arthritis Foundation in many ways. She has been an Arthritis Support Group leader at several facilities and will begin a new group at Harcum in January, 2019. She is an Advocate for the Arthritis Foundation and represented Ohio at the annual Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2007 and 2008. She has also been a guest speaker at The Ohio State University, Women Legislators of Ohio, Rotary Club of Reynoldsburg and for other organizations, as well.
Chris is passionate about her teaching and the Arthritis Foundation. Her greatest joy is helping people feel good through exercise, support, and the friendships that are developed!
Juvenile Idopathic Arthritis
My name is Reagan Breckenridge and I am 12 years old. I have JIA or Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I was diagnosed a little over two years ago with arthritis in 29 different joints. It all started in February 2015 when I started having pain in my foot and was later diagnosed with a stress fracture. I was told no sports for a month and I would need to do physical therapy as well. However, my family and I started to notice that things were not getting any better. Other places of my body started to hurt more often too. During sports I would have to wear braces and take breaks more often. It was also hard for me to feel comfortable while sitting in a chair at school, walk down a few stairs, or even walk around the block. In January of 2016 I mentioned to my parents about hard bumps that were on each of my elbows. My parents called the pediatrician and they ordered an x-ray. The x-ray showed no bony prominences, and I was referred to see a dermatologist. The dermatologist was unsure of what the bumps were and told us to monitor them for two months and then come back for a follow up appointment. We then went back for the follow up and saw a different doctor in the practice who mentioned the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. The dermatologist did not believe it was rheumatoid arthritis since it does not run in our family. He believed the bumps were something called surfers nodules. However, my parents insisted on getting a referral to a rheumatologist do too many other symptoms I was having. My joint pain was getting so bad that I was not even able to twist a door knob or open a water bottle. On July 15 I met Dr. Driest who is a rheumatologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. On the day of my exam she was able to give an official diagnosis of juvenile arthritis. We were all so relieved to finally have an answer for why I was in so much pain. I was then tested for the rheumatoid factor which came back negative. At that point I was started on one week of steroids. The following week I started taking naproxen twice a day. Then on July 29 I received my first Enbrel injection. During my next rheumatologist appointment I found out the swelling was not under control, and at the end of September 2016 I received 21 joint steroid injections. My last arthritis flare up with the following month in October and I thankfully have not had one since. Currently I only have to take naproxen as needed but I am still getting the weekly Enbrel injections. In April of this year I was invited along with many other people to come to the State House and speak to Representatives and Senators on behalf of the Arthritis Foundation in regards to legislation we would like to see passed that would benefit not only people who suffer with arthritis but other illnesses as well. I would like to continue to be an ambassador and educate others about juvenile arthritis, and help other kids like me know they are not alone. Thank you for allowing me to be your Junior Honoree for the 2018 Columbus Jingle Bell Run.