Andrew Franken, OD
Vision Care Associates
For some people, the physical toll of arthritis extends beyond debilitating joint pain. As an optometrist and the co-founder of Vision Care Associates in Shawnee, Dr. Andrew Franken sees that every day. “Whether it's a chronic condition like dry eye syndrome, a toxic ocular side effect of an arthritis medication, or an acute inflammatory flare-up like uveitis, I am constantly reminded of the impact this disease can have on the eyes and vision,” Franken says. Franken was nominated as this year’s Medical Honoree by the parents of a young boy who has Juvenile Arthritis (JA) and battles uveitis, a form of eye inflammation that can be triggered by autoimmune diseases like JA. They were touched by the care that Dr. Franken provided for their son, and Franken is now looking forward to serving as this year’s Medical Honoree. “It's important to support the Arthritis Foundation because the organization has been a great advocate and resource for arthritis patients and those caring for arthritis patients,” says Franken, who started his practice in 2008. “I am hopeful the funds raised for research will continue to improve patient's lives and someday discover a cure.”
Join the fight against arthritis, register or donate today!
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Chelsie Calvert of Kansas City, KS, doesn’t remember life without arthritis. Diagnosed at age 1 with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), she has spent a lifetime learning about the disease – and how to adjust accordingly. “As I get older and change, my RA seems to change with me,” Chelsie says. “I am constantly learning how to adjust to new symptoms and new pains.” The pictures of Chelsie’s childhood tell her story, with her inflamed, misshapen knee serving as a reminder of how far she’s come. Now 28, Chelsie controls her arthritis through therapy, nutrition, medication and exercise. “I have learned to listen to my body, good or bad,” she says. “I have aches and pains but, for the most part, I’m in a good place.” Which brings her to the Jingle Bell Run, an event that means so much to Chelsie and her family. “The Arthritis Foundation helps remind me that I am not alone in this battle,” she says. “Growing up, that was the hardest part for me – feeling like I didn’t have anyone who could relate to this bizarre disease. The Arthritis Foundation, and events like the Jingle Bell Run, provide a sense of community and support that is truly irreplaceable!”
Join Chelsie in her fight against arthritis, register or donate today!