Juvenile Arthritis affects approximately 1 in every 1000 children in the United States. Most people don’t know that kids get arthritis. A child’s immune system is not fully formed until about age 18; so an “autoimmune” form of arthritis is especially aggressive in children, compromising their ability fight normal diseases and leaving them open to complications that may affect their eyes, bone growth, etc.
Unfortunately for the Holden family the statistics are slightly higher, 2 (with a suspected 3rd) out of their 5 children have been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis (JA).
Jasper, who is now 8, was diagnosed at just 5 years old. He’s experienced many side affects including inflammatory bowel issues, irregular bone growth, and frequent infections. His arthritis affects many of his joints but most severely his larger joints such as his knees. Some days he runs and plays with his friends, others he spends more calmly in his wheelchair when the inflammation & pain is too great to walk freely. He’s grown up with pain as his normal, it’s all he knows. His dream is to become a Dr. and develop new medical treatments or possibly even a cure for chronic medical conditions like juvenile arthritis (JA), his moms dream is that there will already be a cure before he graduates med school. In the last 6 months he’s begun a different treatment and is experiencing far less symptoms. They are praying he continues this path and eventually goes into full remission.
James, 12, was diagnosed with JA just over a year ago after experiencing severe pain & light sensitivity in his eyes for several weeks. JIA affects so much more than we expect, including children’s eyes. It causes a condition known as Uveitis and left untreated or if medication is unable to control the inflammation it is possible to lose ones eyesight entirely. In addition to Uveitis, James also experiences pain in his spine, knees and heels due to JA. James dreams of being a scientist or a lego engineer, he’s still undecided.
Fox their 5 yr old son has now begun to show symptoms of arthritis as well and they’ve recently started down the same journey with him.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for juvenile arthritis, although with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, remission is possible.
Being partnered with the Arthritis Foundation is incredibly important to them. Being a part the community the foundation provides is so invaluable to them as a JA family, helping them as a whole family stay connected to other families experiencing the same types of issues.
They couldn’t be more excited to be a part of 2019 Walk to Cure Arthritis!