2019 Halloween Hustle Honorees

 

Heather Fischer
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Adult Honoree 

As a little girl, Heather Fischer watched her grandma Elizabeth suffer from severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the thought never crossed her mind that one day, she too, would be diagnosed with the same auto immune disease. 

At the age of 42 after a bout with strep throat, she began struggling. Something seemed to be wrong with her feet.  It was difficult to walk when she got up in the morning, and to walk after sitting for an extended period.  The symptoms started in June, by August it was apparent things were getting much worse, and were spreading to other parts of her body.  As a first-grade teacher, Heather found it difficult to start the school year and soon sought medical attention. 

It took six weeks until Heather could see the rheumatologist.  Those were six of the longest weeks of Heather’s life.  The pain grew quite severe.  It became more and more difficult to function. By the time her appointment came around she felt like her toes might likely crack and fall off her feet. The official diagnosis came on Halloween day 2011. 

Since that time, Heather has found that she suffers from both RA and osteoarthritis.  She has had four knee surgeries, two of which were for replacement.  There have been days that she has forgone going into the grocery store because there wasn’t a close parking space or walking to the office to make a copy seemed more than she could do. 

Today, things are pretty good for Heather health wise.  Modern day medication has made life easier than what she remembers seeing her grandmother go through.  She considers each good day a blessing and lucky that medications work for her as she knows not all who suffer from arthritis are so lucky. 

Join Heather in her fight against arthritis, register or donate today!

Elizabeth Miksch
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Youth Honoree 

Elizabeth was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) at 13 months old. She had gotten sick with the stomach flu and never seemed to recover. Her family started noticing that things were off when Lizzy would cry from being sat down or would cry when she tried to walk. In the span of two weeks she stopped walking and crawling and would cry in pain. 

Elizabeth deteriorated so quickly; her family sought answers from her pediatrician. They spent an entire day doing every test and when they got the call, it would take while for her family to fully understand what this meant for Lizzy’s future. 

Lizzy was referred to Children’s Mercy and put on a medication to try to help her inflammation. It didn’t work. Sonograms confirmed inflammation in 8 major joints. Both elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles; plus her fingers and toes. Steroid injections were recommended to slow the disease down while they waited for another medication to start working. After her steroid injections, Lizzy’s inflammation and pain slowly started to improve. Unfortunately, the medication was not controlling the disease. Lizzy was then diagnosed with amplified pain syndrome. Which came with a new medication and a long list of scary side effects and complications, was expensive, and insurance did not cover it well. 

For the last 4 years, Lizzy has struggled with anger at her pain, at her mom, and at the world because life isn’t fair. Sometimes asks if she did something wrong that caused her disease. Lizzy has had really bad months, round after round of flu, pneumonia, strep throat, and other health problems because of her meds. However, they are grateful to those meds, they help her walk, run, dance, and live happily. Lizzy’s mother is grateful for their amazing doctors and her family’s strong support system. 

 

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