Colton was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in the summer of 2017 just before starting kindergarten. Almost overnight, our sweet, creative, fun-loving 6-year old went from being the picture of health to living with chronic pain and disability. Within a month of symptom onset, Colton was unable to walk up the stairs or climb into the car unassisted. He lost weight and was completely drained by the nightly fevers and inflamed rashes that broke out all over his body. We had never heard of a form of arthritis that affected children but were quickly connected with Charlotte Pediatric Rheumatologist, Dr. Thomas Griffin. Dr. Griffin recommended an immediate and aggressive treatment plan which over time would involve daily pain medications, a round of steroid injections, at-home DMARD and biologic shots, and eventually, IV infusion therapy with an IL-6 inhibitor used to treat children with Systemic JIA. Due to the nature of step therapy, it took Colton six months and two failed drugs to find the treatment plan that would flip the switch and get his immune system spinning in the right direction again. His doctor was there at every turn, always ready to present the next option after a failed treatment. 

Colton is currently pain-free but even in the worst of times, he never let his "challenge" get the best of him. He lives for baseball, basketball, Hot Wheels and the Tar Heels. He still receives infusion therapy and makes the most of it by raiding the toy cabinet at Levine Children's Hospital's infusion unit...Hot Wheels donations greatly appreciated there :)

Colton, his parents and his twin little sisters are so grateful for his amazing doctor, the compassionate nurses at Levine and the efforts of the Arthritis Foundation to make life-changing research possible! We are also humbled by YOUR support! The time to join the fight is NOW!

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