Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
On the surface, Mason is a typical active 14-year-old 9th grader with interests in science, technology, literature and history. He is a member of his school rowing team, a member of a shooting team and a Boy Scout. But there is one thing that sets him apart; he is one of 300,000 children in the United States living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).
Mason was diagnosed at the age of 10, after nearly a year of doctor visits, blood tests, X-Rays, Ultrasounds, MRIs, steroid injections, and surgery. Like most kids with JIA, living with arthritis requires adaptation. This meant giving up two of his favorite sports, football and baseball, to protect his joints. Now, as a teenager, it means adapting his social life and school schedule to accommodate doctor visits, weekly injections - and their ill after-affects.
Children suffering from an arthritis flare up, may experience too much pain and inflammation to get out of bed, to walk to the breakfast table, to hold a pencil, or to button their school clothes. On these days going to school and carrying around a 20-lb backpack is unthinkable!
Mason is fortunate to have access to medications that are helping control his arthritis and a team of expert pediatric rheumatologists at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. But with only 350 board certified pediatric rheumatologists in the U.S., only 25% of children with juvenile arthritis are getting the care they truly need. In addition, due to the limited choices and high cost of arthritis medications, many families simply cannot afford them or have run out of viable treatment options. For these reasons, Mason is a Junior Ambassador with the Arthritis Foundation, where he advocates for funding to expand research and scientific discovery in the area of arthritis, and to cultivate a new generation of pediatric rheumatologists.
“Please join me in my quest for remission! #MissionRemission” Mason Nothaft