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When our daughter was just two years old, we noticed her starting to limp. At first, we thought maybe she had fallen and hurt herself, but when we looked closer we noticed a swollen toe and ankle. After looking at her, our doctor sent us to an orthopedic specialist for more testing and several more rounds of x-rays. After several months with an orthopedic specialist, we noticed both of Makaylah’s ankles and knees were also swollen. During those few months, Makaylah basically stopped walking. When she would wake up in the morning, she could not even stand.

After several months with the Orthopedic Specialist, we were referred to a Pediatric Rheumatologist who immediately diagnosed Makaylah with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. During this time, we were concerned and overwhelmed. We just wanted Makaylah to feel better. I didn’t know that children as young as Makaylah could get arthritis. Our doctor explained that polyarticular means that Makaylah’s arthritis affects five or more joints. Researchers aren’t sure why kids develop JIA, but they believe kids with JIA have certain genes that are activated by a virus, bacteria, or other external factors.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common type of arthritis in kids and teens. It is a chronic disease that typically causes joint pain and inflammation in the hands, knees, ankles, elbows, and/or wrists, but it may affect other body parts too. Makaylah also has inflammation in her eyes called Uveitis, which is caused by her arthritis.

Makaylah is in 1st grade now and she enjoys drawing, dancing, singing, and playing with her brother. She is fascinated by unicorns and anything pink or purple. Her arthritis symptoms come and go, but she does not let JIA stop her from achieving her goals. Her medications include Methotrexate, Humira, and Folic Acid and so far, she is doing wonderful. There is no cure for JIA, but remission is possible. Since December of 2021, Makaylah has been in Medicated Remission. She is a strong, brave girl that lights up any room with her beautiful smile and personality. She does not let JIA stand in the way of being a kid.

We are so thankful that Makaylah started treatment as soon as possible because that is the key to getting her disease under control as quickly as possible. When her joints feel painful or swollen, we take breaks to help Makaylah preserve her energy. Sometimes that’s hard to do with a first grader.

After Makaylah’s diagnosis, we contacted the Arthritis Foundation to find information and support. They sent us a backpack filled with information and a fuzzy bear that can be heated to soothe aching joints. We have met other children with JIA which helps us get through the tough times with a chronic disease. Last year, the Executive Director for the Arthritis Foundation Louisiana asked if Makaylah would like to be the Youth Honoree for the 2022 Walk to Cure Arthritis in Baton Rouge. We were honored and Makaylah loved every minute of representing the Arthritis Foundation! We were honored to support the 300,000 kids in our country, like Makaylah, who have a form of juvenile arthritis. 

💜Please join us at the Walk on May 6th and come out to support Makaylah!💜

Any one who joins the team and donates $100 under their name once registered will receive a Walk to Cure Arthritis T-shirt!

Thank you! 



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