Kathryn E. Welch, MD, FACR, is a rheumatologist at Mid-America Rheumatology Consultants in Overland Park. She received her medical education and completed her post-graduate education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Dr. Welch severed as the Director of the Rheumatology Training Program before joining Mid-America Rheumatology. Dr. Welch holds memberships in the America College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology and the Midwest Rheumatology Association. She has been an advocate for her patients throughout her career.
Visit Dr. Welch's fundraising page to donate today!
Cindy Fuson is a 53-year-old mother of three and grandma of two. She was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 1992. Shortly after giving birth to her first child, her right hand and thumb started to swell, felt warm to the touch and ached. Being a busy new mom, she didn’t go to the rheumatologist for about 6 months.
At the rheumatologist office, X-rays showed some permanent joint damage already in her right hand. Initially, her diagnosis was rheumatoid arthritis, and later changed to psoriatic arthritis due to a full body rash she had five years previous that was resistant to common treatments and discovering a family history of psoriasis.
Her first regiment of medications, she had terrible side effects, but biologics were not available yet. Unfortunately, due to extreme deformities which left her unable to open her hand, at the age of thirty two she required a full joint replacement in her right hand.
The next six years brought more joint damage. She had her first knee replacement surgery at forty six then a second one at forty eight. Last year she had a ligament lengthened in her calf and three bones in her foot and ankle fused due to deformities from joint damage caused by her arthritis.
As if the daily struggles of having arthritis wasn’t enough, something even worse happened. Her daughter was diagnosed with polyarticular arthritis at the age of seven, and her eldest son was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis at age twenty two. Cindy couldn't help but feel guilty she had passed this horrible disease on to her children. She realized feeling sad and guilty wasn't helping any of them and discovered the Arthritis Foundation. Fundraising every year makes her feel hopeful someday there will be a cure!
Visit Cindy's fundraising page to donate today!
Madison Foreman was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic rheumatoid arthritis (JIRA) when she was fourteen. It was around August, when her knee began to swell. At first, she just thought that it was caused by karate, because the week before she had hurt the same knee while sparring with friends. For a while she would just wear a knee brace, until they couldn’t fit her knee anymore. Madison kept telling her mom, "I am in a lot more pain than normal." Her family decided to get a doctor's opinion. Madison visited multiple doctors until the third one finally diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and told her she needed to see a doctor at Children’s Mercy.
The first thing that came to her mind after the diagnosis was how it was going to affect her ability to do karate. Madison was working to get her second-degree black belt, and she was really hoping it wouldn’t slow her down. Unfortunately, it did but it didn’t stop her. Today, Madison is a fourth-degree black belt and owns her own dojo.
The worst part for Madison isn’t having arthritis and the extreme pain she feels, but what bothers her the most is the way some people perceive her. There are times when Madison and her family will go to the store and due to her pain, she will have to use an electric cart. Since arthritis isn’t always a visual disease, she gets looked at like, “you don’t need it.” Madison has attended the Arthritis Foundation’s juvenile arthritis camp, and has made great friends with other kids who understand the pain she feels. She has met some amazing people at the Arthritis Foundation conference and been able to learn more about her disease. Having arthritis is hard but Madison realizes without the diagnosis she would never have experienced some of the things she has.
Visit Madison's fundraising page to donate today!
Reagan is 14 years old and has been battling the effects of arthritis since the age of three, although not formally diagnosed until the age of nine. It all began with a sore knee, which was misdiagnosed as a misshaped meniscus in the beginning. At that time, multiple surgeries to fix the meniscus was the outcome. Thankfully her parents sought a second opinion, which ultimately led them to Children’s Mercy Hospital and her official diagnosis of polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
She struggled keeping up with other children her age, running or playing sports. It was difficult being forced to the sideline most of her youth, but arthritis no longer defines who she is. With the care of great doctors and medication, Reagan's condition is now being managed. She has greater mobility and freedom than before, and was able to play fast-pitch softball for the first time in years this past summer, with plans to try out for her school’s fast-pitch team in the spring. She even joined her dad this fall on a co-ed memorial softball team (pretty sure she showed him a thing or two!).
Reagan's journey is not over. She still has moments of discomfort and will have corrective surgery in the future. She has benefited from great doctors and treatments. Reagan knows fundraising has helped the Arthritis Foundation find the treatments that are being used today, and fundraising will continue to allow for additional research in hopes of one day finding a cure. Reagan is honored to be one of this year's Walk to Cure Arthritis honorees. Reagan hopes you will join her in teh fight against arthritis by making a doantion today!
Visit Reagan's fundraising page to donate today!
Annaleigh was diagnosed with a form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis called oligoarthritis at the age of 5. She had just started kindergarten when a swollen elbow and knee began to interrupt her busy life. Expecting a simple recovery and healing, it came as quite a surprise to learn that doctors suspected she was experiencing the side effects of arthritis. Like many others, Annaleigh’s parents thought of arthritis as a condition that only plagued adults. Thankfully, she was diagnosed rather quickly due to the diligence of her parents, pediatrician, and doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Her disease is currently responding well to treatment and has remained well-controlled for some time now. As do many other patients and their parents, Annaleigh awaits confirmation that her disease is in a remissive state and she no longer has to take weekly injections or daily medications.
This is her third year participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis, because she and her parents recognize the need for support, education, research, and hopefully a cure very soon. Please join Annaleigh in raising awareness and money to help find a cure for this disease which affects nearly 300,000 kids in the United States (www.arthritis.org).
Visit Annaleigh’s fundraising page and help her reach her goal of 1000.00!