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2011 Honorees - Faces of Arthritis

Very few adults can handle the hardships that are brought on by long term diseases. Even fewer of them can handle them with the grace, determination and fortitude of a child. One such child is our daughter Chloe Steen. We are excited to have Chloe as a 2011 Jingle Bell Run Honoree. Chloe is an amazing 8 year old girl who has been living with juvenile idiopathic arthritis since 2005. Despite what she has endured Chloe is a happy child with a lot of spunk and a very competitive nature.

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When I was fourteen, summer before my sophomore year in high school, I was diagnosed with JRA. I can remember the day so clearly. I had been synchronized swimmer since age 9. I loved doing synchronized swimming and went on to compete at Jr. Olympics, National Age Groups, US Opens, and Junior Nationals. We were completely dedicated to the sport swimming and loved swimming with each other. One Saturday during the summer I was at practice and had the most excruciating pain in my lower back. I was lifted out of the pool and went straight to the doctors. They tested me for leukemia due to the low back pain symptom. Luckily, it came back negative but the doctor did not know what was wrong. I ended up at Seattle Children’s where I was diagnosed with JRA. I stayed at Children’s until Dr. David Sherry moved and was referred to Seattle Rheumatology Associates.

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Sasha is in 7th grade and has been living with JIA for as long as she remembers. At age 2, Sasha was officially diagnosed by Children's hospital with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Sasha's mom describes JRA as a "silent disease" and says that many people don't understand since it is not visible and the symptoms varies from day to day. Sasha might limp or be extremely tired one day and not the next. Other people just have had a hard time believing kids get arthritis too and do not understand what she goes through everyday.

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