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.
As a kid growing up with arthritis, Sasha has challenges in her everyday routine. Sasha, now at 13, has multiple joints that are involved. She has pain and inflammation in both feet, ankles, knees, and fingers, plus she has fatigue that is associated with the arthritis. It is often painful for her to walk or run, to write and draw fine details, yet she very rarely complains about the pain and tries not to let it stop her from living life. She takes daily doses of medications that often make her feel bad but she takes them knowing that it will help her in her battle against her arthritis. Sasha has always missed a lot of school due to her disease since she goes in for doctor appointments on a regular basis, has infusions, surgeries. She has never once had a chance to win an award at school for attendance, has always have to work hard to catch up on class work, and has had to work very hard through her fear of needles.
With all Sasha goes through she is an extremely giving and caring person and has more empathy than just about any person I know, let alone someone of her age. Though Sasha can't do everything that other kids do because of her arthritis, she has found a passion for art and reading. Recently Sasha had two art pieces chosen to be on display at the Scholastic Art Exhibit as well as a couple of wonderful pieces that I have hanging on my wall. Sasha is hopeful that new research will uncover new and better treatments and eventually a cure to help kids like her. Sasha is an amazing girl and she is my inspiration to walk in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk.
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