February 28, 2011
This Saturday is the annual Juvenile Arthritis March (JAM) which is held at the Mall of America in Bloomington. It’s a pretty big event with families walking together in order to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. I took photos at JAM last year for the first time which was also the beginning of my volunteer work photographing other Arthritis Foundation events. I’m really looking forward to helping out again (despite needing to arrive there at 6:30 AM). It’s inspiring to see so many people coming together to work hard for such a personal cause. All of the kids (and adults) wearing blue T-shirts last year were people who had some form of arthritis. I was 18 years old when I was diagnosed with RA, which is very young, but it’s nothing compared to the courageous little kids who are forced to deal with this debilitating disease at such young ages. Suddenly having the intense physical and emotional pain of RA thrust upon me at age 18 was incredibly devastating, yet I’m very grateful I was able to have a normal pain-free childhood. Many of the kids who participate in JAM each year will most likely never be able to experience that. Finding a cure for arthritis is important for everyone who suffers from the disease – but especially for the little ones. No child should have to suffer from constant pain.