Debbie’s symptoms began in May 2010. Over a year later and after many doctors visits, she was finally diagnosed with Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis (SRA). Debbie was given the standard antimetabolites and was sent on her way with many unanswered questions. What is SRA? Was this medication going to cure it?
After two months of the antimetabolites Debbie was bedridden. Debbie’s husband and daughter would literally carry her to the restroom as RA consumed her from head to toe. She even had trouble eating due to the inflammation in her face. This was not the life Debbie expected as she was always very independent and feisty. Luckily, after a second opinion from a rheumatologist who believed in aggressive treatment, Debbie was given biologics which helped give her life back. The wonders of biologics, or, as she and her husband jokingly refer to it, “The Juice.”
Shortly after diagnosis, Debbie discovered the Walk to Cure Arthritis Tri-Valley online. In 2012, she attended her first walk and volunteered to help with the event. It was a wonderful experience. Being around others who could understand exactly what she was going through, knowing they were there to walk for a cure, better treatments and resources related to this terrible disease. In 2013, Debbie joined the Walk to Cure Arthritis Tri-Valley Committee, and, in 2014, she became the Committee Chair! The Walk to Cure Arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation have become a part of Debbie’s life. She has been a committed Arthritis Warrior, raising awareness and substantial funds for the Arthritis Foundation and for the programs that it supports. She feels very lucky to have continuous support from generous friends, family and co-workers. And, her company has been ever so supportive. Debbie thanks her wonderful husband for all his tremendous support with her continuing journey.
Visit Debbie's team page, Snap, Crackl & Pop to donate today!
Jack is 12 years old. He was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when he was 6. He has arthritis in his joints which include his knees, wrists, and neck. He also gets inflammation in his eyes.
When Jack found out that he had arthritis he was shocked. He didn’t know that kids could get arthritis too. Having arthritis means Jack has to say no to doing things sometimes when he hurts or is tired. He also misses a lot of school because of his treatments and doctor’s appointments. Jack thinks it is important for people to understand that kids can get arthritis too, at any age, and everyone’s arthritis is a little bit different.
Supporting the Arthritis Foundation is important to Jack because it means getting the help he needs to be a kid. The Arthritis Foundation provides his parents with information, provides his doctors with tools, and it provides him with support such as this Walk to Cure Arthritis and, his favorite, Camp Milagros.
Jack said Yes! to being an honoree because he wants to help other kids with arthritis see that it is okay to stand up and say, “yes, I have arthritis, but it does not mean I have to stop being a kid.” Jack believes that more people should say Yes! too because we need to find a cure for arthritis.
Visit Jack's fundraising page and join his fight against arthritis by donating today!
Imagine a toddler, struggling to walk, crying with every step.
Imagine a toddler having to face injections of powerful medications with anesthesia, along with numerous exams and procedures.
Imagine a toddler having to be held down and given eye drops *every HOUR*…. for over a month.
Phoebe Katayanagi is a sweet 20 month old girl, who loves cuddling with her mama, being silly with dada, and getting into big sister’s Legos. Her favorite things are her blankie, reading about dogs, and watching Sesame Street.
Just over two months ago, Phoebe’s parents learned that the reason Phoebe struggled to walk was because she has juvenile arthritis, with inflammation throughout her whole body, in her joints and even affecting her eyes.
Phoebe’s parents never heard of juvenile arthritis -- they didn’t even know arthritis was an auto-immune disease, where the body is mistakenly attacking itself. They learned there is no cure, and Phoebe’s treatment goal is to attain remission.
With steroid joint injections under anesthesia, Phoebe has had much pain relief. Her mama thought it was a miracle the day Phoebe got out of her bed on her own. She cried watching Phoebe go down a slide by herself, just like any other toddler.
Phoebe’s parents have learned how to administer weekly injections. They learned how to get a feisty, fussy toddler to cooperate with eye drops with the help of stuffed animals and blowing bubbles afterwards.
Although very new to this diagnosis, the family has learned to be strong. The strongest of all is Phoebe, an arthritis warrior, who still manages to be an adorable, fun-loving toddler, living in the present moment. The family feels deeply indebted to the Arthritis Foundation and having Phoebe as an honoree. They are grateful to know they are not alone in this life-changing diagnosis.
Visit Phoebe's fundraising page and join her fight against arthritis by donating today!