Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Brenna Balken is 16 years old and lives in Dilworth, MN, with her parents, Troy and Sonja, and her older sister, Ellie. Brenna was diagnosed with enthesitis-related juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) as a second grader after her parents noticed that she was dealing with unusual pain and difficulty walking.
Brenna has tried many different medication combinations and treatments over the years, working with Dr. Vehe at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, including oral medications, injections, and infusions. Currently she receives her treatments at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND, working closely with her pediatric rheumatologist Dr. Syverson.
Brenna enjoys golfing with both her family and on the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Rebels girls golf team at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School, biking, rollerblading, and vacationing. Brenna has been involved with the Jingle Bell Run since 2012, recruiting many family and friends over the years to participate with her on the Rockin' Rebels team. Brenna enjoys going to Camp Cambria every summer and has met many great friends through this opportunity. She loves participating in the outdoor camp activities and sports, while learning beneficial tips and information about controlling and managing her disease. She has been given valuable education relating to nutrition, exercise, and general well-being. Activities such as the Jingle Bell Run and Camp Cambria provide excellent means for young adults such as Brenna to advocate for themselves, while helping other kids through the ups and downs of living with arthritis and to promote living life to the fullest!