March 23, 2015
I finally finished editing the photos I took at JAM a couple weekends ago. The Juvenile Arthritis March is an annual event that brings out tons of people to raise money and participate in the walk to help find a cure for Juvenile Arthritis and support the kids and families who live with the disease. This was my fifth year photographing JAM for my local Arthritis Foundation chapter, and as always, it was great to see all of the people who participated in the event and to be surrounded by so many people who are dedicated to and passionate about arthritis advocacy.
Here’s a link to the photos if you’re interested:
I, myself, was diagnosed with RA when I was 18 (although I started having symptoms at age 17), so I was on the cusp of juvenile vs adult rheumatoid arthritis. My pediatrician gave me a preliminary diagnosis and immediately sent me to see an adult rheumatologist who I stayed with for the next 10 years. During the end of my teen years and into my 20s, I lived a very isolated and lonely life regarding my RA. I didn’t know any other teenagers or college-age people with the disease and spent these young years battling the physical and emotional pain essentially alone. To say it was hard would be a big understatement.
Volunteering at JAM this year, like the previous years, it made me feel happy to see all of these young people and their families coming together to support each other, and to nurture the friendships and relationships they’ve made over the years, as well as forming new ones. It breaks my heart to think of little kids having to deal with the intense, debilitating pain of RA, but I do feel better knowing that many of them are not alone.