Jeanine McGuire was diagnosed at 14 years old. She knew something was wrong when she started having swelling in her knee. After 2 years of misdiagnoses and treatments, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
As a teenager she went from managing her social calendar to managing doctor appointments and an incurable chronic illness. By graduation, her arthritis had spread to over 5 joints affecting her hands, knees, ankles and feet. In college she started weekly injections and collegiate soccer. She was told maintaining her health and athletic career would be improbable. Improbable yes, difficult yes, but impossible it wasn’t. She finished college as a two-sport athlete in soccer and cross-country. Today, she still competes in endurance events. She placed fourth overall female at the 2017 Jingle Bell Run!
Living her life as an athlete with a chronic illness, she has had to overcome hardships and adversity, but it has made her challenge her limits and go further than she ever thought possible. The tenacity she brings in both competition and in life makes her a Champion Of YES!
She still has days where she struggles with swelling, stiffness, pain and fatigue and worries about her future and long-term effects of medications and her disease. She continues to be inspired to run because she can, she wants to run harder for those who cannot, and raise awareness to the nation’s leading cause of disability. The faces of arthritis are everywhere and likely you or someone you know is or will be affected by this illness. Research is expensive, funding is limited but together our joint efforts can make a significant difference.