When You're 8, But Feeling Like 80

by Melissa Brunner

Over the past few months, I've had a chance to get to know some amazing people in our community. Eight-year old Kate, 16-year old Hannah, 24-year old Tarri and 33-year old Julia all are very different, but they have arthritis in common. Each was diagnosed with the disease at a young age.

These young people and their families are overcoming obstacles every day. To hear them describe the pain they have gone through is heartbreaking; to see all they're doing in their lives despite it is inspiring. Tarri, for example, shares how here father was carrying her into doctors' offices, begging anyone to help. Julia relives how, as a child in school, classmates would make fun of her.

Despite all of that, these young people remain positive and are accomplishing great things. Medications are helping them cope, while researchers work on a cure. I'm not sure I could retain such optimism and faith were I in their shoes. I get frustrated when a muscle is sore for more than a day!

You can hear about their trials and triumphs in a special program, "Taking Control: Living with Juvenile Arthritis." Together with the Arthritis Foundation Heartland Region we put a face on arthritis unlike those you might have known. It debuts at 5:30pm and 7pm Monday, Sept. 13th. If you miss it on the air, I have it posted here as well.


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