He wrestles, plays football and enjoys the day-to-day activities many 14-year-old boys would. Unlike many 14-year-olds, Drake was diagnosed with SoJIA, or systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
“I have yet to meet another person my age with the same type of JIA that I have,” he says.
But Drake doesn’t let that faze him. His story is one of several found on the website Kids Get Arthritis, Too, an initiative by the Arthritis Foundation.
As many as 300,000 children in the U.S. have arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is actually a more common form – the most common type of arthritis in children, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
The condition develops in youngsters under the age of 16, and surfaces in nine different types. Symptoms could include everything from bone deterioration to muscle tightening and joint misalignment.
Kids Get Arthritis, Too features a range of stories, from both young kids and teens, to adults who were diagnosed with arthritis at a young age.
There’s Arianna, diagnosed in 2007. Now a teenager, she wrote about her “ups and downs.” Arthritis affects most of her big joints. When her friends found out about the diagnosis, at first, they responded: “that’s what old people get.”
Arianna wrote that she wants people to know she’s not any different from other kids just because of the arthritis. She hopes one day for a cure, but until then, she’s going to keep living life. Not to mention, she’s been a straight-A student for six years!
Beyond first-person stories, Kids Get Arthritis, Too has a host of other resources for kids and parents affected by JIA. The website features everything from general information on the condition to advice on finding the right doctor to current research on JIA.
I for one, think the stories are the best part of the website. They offer the chance to connect with other going through the same thing you might be going through. Just like Arianna, who said she talked to other kids with JIA through the website.
Check out Kids Get Arthritis, Too. Tell us what you find.