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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.

When Chloe was only 18 months old, we realized that something was not right. We noticed that almost every morning when changing her out of her sleepwear she would contort her body in a very unnatural way and appear to be in pain. This situation was made even more difficult because she was so little at the time that she could not explain to us or the doctors what was wrong, where it hurt, and often by the time she was seen by a medical professional she would have the full flexibility of her knee and hips. Several doctors were unable to identify the problem and told us there was nothing wrong. We went through several diagnoses but none seemed to be the correct one and she continued to suffer until she basically stopped walking and would only want to be carried. After several months we took Chloe to urgent care; where we meet Dr. Gwen Keiser. After an episode of swollen knees and joints, she thought that perhaps she knew what was wrong and asked if we had ever heard of JRA. She then sent us to Children's Hospital after ordering an MRI which showed both of Chloe's knees were swollen. Chloe endured a number of tests before she was finally diagnosed. She had juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It affects all of her joints in her hands, feet, knees, ankles, wrists and even later in her eyes. We finally were able to focus on treatment, the search was over, but the battle had just begun. At first, when she was diagnosed it was a very difficult time just figuring out the medications was at times overwhelming. Chloe endured it all with grace. Even when we had to give her shots, Chloe handled them better than her mother and I did. Luckily we were able to get by with the incredible help and care that we received from Children's Hospital and by attending Katfish Camp where we met and discussed mutual problems of children that had this disease.

Chloe lives in Kirkland, WA and goes to Juanita Elementary. She enjoys school and is receiving her second fitness award in PE this year. The girl who at one time could not walk because of the pain in her joints is excelling at sports. Neither of Chloe's teachers could believe that Chloe has this disease and were extremely impressed by her courage. Even though Chloe struggles with pain she never shows it and is a real trooper. She loves to be active and enjoys taking swimming classes, playing softball in the spring and soccer in the fall. Chloe has to endure weekly methotraxate injections, monthly infusion treatments of Remicade along with daily medication of Meloxicam, and also has had two knee joint injections. She does all of these things with an awesome attitude and incredible resilience. Since 2007 Chloe has had several teams running in her honor. Chloe and her family have been raising money for the Arthritis Foundation through donations and United Way in hopes that other children can be diagnosed as early as Chloe or even more hopeful... for a cure.

Join Chloe's Team | Make a Donation

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