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10,300 Michigan Kids – Including Some in Your Back Yard – Defy Stereotypes About Arthritis

The Walk to Cure Arthritis will be held May 10 at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak.

These are the faces of juvenile arthritis in southeast Michigan, from left are Jordan DeLore, Taylor Gray and Logan Bry. (Photos submitted)
These are the faces of juvenile arthritis in southeast Michigan, from left are Jordan DeLore, Taylor Gray and Logan Bry. (Photos submitted)

By Chris Cahill

Community Development & Marketing Manager, Arthritis Foundation, Michigan

Here’s the thing about arthritis: There’s a significant false perception that arthritis is a minor affliction that only older people get. And, in many cases, people who have arthritis don’t look like they’re seriously ill, especially kids.

Logan Bry is a 12-year-old from Northville. Some people thought he was faking his pain. He could no longer play sports or ride his bike. Sometimes, walking up stairs was impossible. Other kids were laughing and making fun of him.

Jordan DeLore is a 14-year-old from Lapeer. She remembers thinking, “How can I have arthritis? Only old people get it.” Jordan will be a counselor this summer at the Arthritis Foundation’s Camp Dakota – a medically supervised residential camp for kids who have arthritis.

Taylor Gray is a 16-year-old from Farmington. She was 12 months old when her parents noticed that she was refusing to stand or walk.

“I never forget about the pain,” Taylor. said “When it’s in your thumbs, it’s a sharp pain whenever you move them. When it’s in your ankles and knees, you use them to walk and, when they’re in pain, you can’t do that.”

Logan, Jordan and Taylor are among the 300,000 kids nationally, and 10,300 kids in Michigan who have juvenile arthritis. More than 50 million Americans have arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the US.

Looking at Logan, Jordan and Taylor, you’d never guess that they have a serious illness.

What you can’t see is that, for unknown reasons, their immune systems are attacking their bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Their joints are slowly and progressively deteriorating. They are in pain and, over time, this pain will significantly increase while their mobility will decline.

People with more advanced stages of arthritis often have difficulty doing simple things, like brushing their teeth or feeding themselves.

Arthritis never goes away. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. Many people hope to find a medication, or combination of medications, that will better control their arthritis. But even then, this is only a stop-gap measure as the medications used to treat arthritis only slow the disease down and oftentimes lose their effectiveness.

Until there are better treatments or a cure, people who have arthritis will continue to experience progressive joint deterioration and pain. This is the plight of all people who have arthritis and for Logan, Jordan and Taylor, they are only at the beginning of their arthritis battle.

Logan and Jordan will be special honorees at the 2014 Detroit Walk to Cure Arthritis at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak. Taylor is a past honoree.

Presented by the Beaumont Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Walk to Cure Arthritis is the Arthritis Foundation’s fun and non-competitive walking event that supports programs, research and advocacy initiatives that help people who have arthritis.

Registration is free and includes admission to the zoo. A $25 donation per person is suggested. Learn more at WalkToCureArthritis.org or by calling (855) 529-2728

Taylor Carter April 22, 2014 at 09:21 AM
Has anyone here looked into topical pain management to fight arthritis pain? These prescription pain gels provide relief when and where you need it with no side effects or pills. I highly suggest looking into it. If you want to know more, please ask or look up A&R Pharmacy. They answered all my questions and got me on the path to living normally again.
michelle April 22, 2014 at 10:51 AM
I had a virus a few years ago (around age 30) that gave me symptoms like arthritis and the docs treated me with arthritis meds while the virus did it's course. Anyway, it was miserable. My joints were swollen and painful and I also thought this is only supposed to happen to older people. I couldn't imagine having it as a child knowing it progressively gets worse. that has to be tough. I only dealt with it a few weeks and it went away. :-( Those kids are tough! I hope they find better treatments.

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