Angie Harrison’s story with arthritis began in the summer of 1971 when she was three and a half years old. Angie would complain about not being able to pick something up or not wanting to walk. Angie’s mother did not understand why. Then Angie’s knees became red and swollen. She had fevers, and Angie’s mom knew something was wrong. The family doctor diagnosed Angie with poly-articular arthritis and sent her to Riley Hospital for Children where she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Shortly after being diagnosed, Angie’s neck and other joints became involved.
“My mom described me crying when I had to lay down because my neck hurt so much,” said Angie. “Even my scalp would hurt when she brushed my long hair, so my hair was cut short.”
Despite limited range of motion and pain in her joints, Angie strived to be ‘normal.’ Her family was aware of her limitations but did not pamper her.
“I did not miss school,” said Angie. “I was always quieter and reserved. I judged a situation before I got involved, but I too played, ran, jumped rope, and rode my bicycle. I got my license on time, went to college, got a job and got my own house.”
In 1971, there were no disease modifying treatments available for children. Angie took several baby aspirin a day for the inflammation and pain until she was in high school. Unfortunately, baby aspirin did not protect her joints from damage. “All my joints from head to toe have deformities and diminished range of motion,” said Angie.
To read more of Angie's story, please visit her fundraising page.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Cameron Miller, 10, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) when he was 6 years old. JIA is an autoimmune disease that causes pain and inflammation in his joints, or as Cameron says, “My body attacks itself.”
Before Cameron was diagnosed, his left knee was swollen for several months. He saw many different doctors and had lots of tests and the first of several MRI’s. In December 2014, Cameron saw a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with oligoarticular JIA, meaning it affects four or fewer joints. He started taking daily medicines to see if the swelling in his knee would go away, but it didn’t. Eventually, Cameron had to have a steroid injection in his knee. The injection worked for over a year before he had another flare.
When Cameron was in second grade, his cheeks started hurting. Cameron’s mom Cloe thought it was a tooth or a sore in his mouth, but when it started hurting to eat and at least once a day his jaw would “pop” she knew it was something else. Cameron had an MRI to confirm he had active arthritis in his jaw. Steroid injections for both sides of his jaw were soon scheduled.
“It is sometimes hard to say how much pain Cameron feels because of JIA,” says Cloe. “Sadly, pain became his normal. He would limp through basketball games, PE and so much more and eventually experienced pain to eat! He couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as fast as he used to be, why he couldn’t keep up with others. He would try his hardest, pushing himself too hard and at times would come home and have to crawl up the stairs.”
To read the rest of Cameron's story, please visit his fundarising page.