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2024 Walk to Cure Arthritis Honorees


Stephen W. George, MD
Arthritis Care Specialists
Medical Honoree

Dr. George graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1986 and completed his Residency/Fellowship at Geisinger Medical Center. He has held board certifications in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Adult & Pediatric Rheumatology.

Since 1992, he has been devoted to his patients, transforming the lives of countless individuals. From 1996 to 2013, he also served as head of Pediatric Rheumatology at UMMC. Currently, he consults pediatric rheumatology inpatients at Sinai and mentors residents. Dr. George's impactful work earned him recognition as a Top Doctor in Baltimore Magazine multiple times.

As we honor Dr. George, we celebrate not only his dedication, expertise, and compassion but also his impending retirement. While marking the end of an era, his legacy will endure.


Julie Pertman
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

Julie was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2022 after experiencing hoarseness, which was attributed to lesions on her vocal cords. They were removed in surgery, but soon after she began experiencing classic RA symptoms. Fortunately, Julie started treatment shortly after diagnosis and now manages her RA through medication, exercise, diet, and rest.

Despite her struggles, Julie finds inspiration in her work as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Kennedy Krieger, where she cares for children with developmental disabilities. Their resilience motivates her to navigate challenges with determination.

Julie has found comfort and belonging among other arthritis warriors. She recognizes that the life-altering medications she is taking would not have been possible without the efforts of the Foundation.


Nina Ejindu
Juvenile Arthritis
Teen Honoree

Nina, a senior in high school from Howard County, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 16. Thanks to her rheumatologist's guidance, Nina diligently follows a daily medication regimen that significantly alleviates her symptoms, enabling her to actively participate in dance and volleyball, representing her school with pride.

With aspirations to become a surgeon and medical researcher, the diagnosis that once made her question her dreams, now only fuels her determination. Her arthritis journey serves as a powerful motivation to help patients around the world who may be experiencing pain like she once did.

Join or support Nina and team, Gladiators.


Shelby Thompson
Polyarticular Juvenile
Idiopathic Arthritis

Lily Thompson
Oligoarticular Juvenile
Idiopathic Arthritis

Youth Honorees

At just 11 months old, Shelby was diagnosed with systemic onset polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), a condition that has since been compounded by additional diagnoses of uveitis and avascular necrosis. Her JIA was so severe that she spent her kindergarten year in a wheelchair. Now at 11 years old, she continues to grapple with arthritis flairs and daily pain.

In a twist of fate, in October of 2023, Shelby's older sister Lily received her own diagnosis of oligoarticular JIA at the age of 13. Lily, too, faces challenges with mobility, particularly at school, where her peers often struggle to comprehend the pain and isolation that accompany arthritis.

Despite not being biological sisters, Shelby and Lily share a unique bond forged through their shared experiences as Arthritis Warriors. Alongside their sisters and mother, they have been regular attendees at the JA Family Summit, cherishing the connections they've formed with families from across the country.

Join or support Shelby & Lily and their team, Sister Squad.