The Juvenile Arthritis Conference is Underway! by Ashley Boynes-Shuck

Arthritis is Unacceptable….and Juvenile Arthritis is even more Unacceptable!

Did you know that Kids Get Arthritis, Too?

Every year, the Arthritis Foundation organizes a national Juvenile Arthritis Conference during the month of July, which is JA Awareness Month.

Over 300,000 children in the United States live with a form of Juvenile Arthritis, and it is the 6th most common childhood disease.

Arthritis can affect children and teens on many levels — from physical to emotional and social. Unfortunately, children and teens with a disability such as arthritis may feel like outsiders or get bullied at school.

However, the Arthritis Foundation has taken many strides to make sure that kids with arthritis do NOT feel alone.  Kids, tweens, and teens can check out the website Kids Get Arthritis Too at http://www.arthritistoday.org/kgat/ to interact with others who are in their same situation. Parents and patients can check out the JA Alliance, here: http://www.arthritis.org/juvenile-arthritis-alliance.php and there are also communities on Facebook, such as Rheum to Grow. 

The JA Conference, however, may be one of the most unique and important opportunities for kids and teens with arthritis to get together and to meet one another. It is also a way for parents, families, and patients to advocate for the condition and to bring awareness to this little-known disease.

You’re never too  young for arthritis — and you’re never alone. This year, the JA Conference will host JA kids and families from July 7-10 in Washington DC. Registration is closed, but there are lots of activities for those in attendance.

What to do?  DANCE to Christylez Bacon, progressive hip-hop artist, as he entertains you with a concert and beat boxing lessons!  SMILE when you get your picture taken with a NASCAR driver, Todd Peck, who has JA and his truck after a special announcement at the conference.  ADVOCATE when you tape a special video to send to President Barack Obama.  PLAY Dance Dance Revolution, Mario Kart, backyard obstacle course, ball crawl, Kinect, Rock Band, Roulette, and Black Jack at Family Fun Night on Saturday!  LEARN about research, treatment, transitioning, perspective, exercise, wellness, resources, orthopedics, social media, nutrition and more.  MOVE as you go on the hunt for a cure with Cur E Us the Mouse and the researchers from Duke University.  CHEER for the Nationals on Friday night at the Arthritis Foundation, Kids Get Arthritis Too night at the park. LISTEN as legendary piano player Byron Janis, who has suffered from psoriatic arthritis for 38 years, plays during the closing ceremony on Sunday!

You won’t want to miss this awesome event, going on now!! If you missed the deadline this year, save up for next year — it’s an annual happening! If you are in attendance, be sure to tweet @MidAtlanticAF with your photos, videos, and thoughts. Use the hashtag #jaconf on Twitter to stay in the loop of all the JA Conference happenings!

Let’s move together towards a cure for Juvenile Arthritis! And most of all….have fun!

Stay well,

Ashley Boynes-Shuck

Text the word MOVE to 50555 to give $5 to the Arthritis Foundation!

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