As told by Kids Get Arthritis Too
At 14, Sydney is an active teenager who has danced at Madison Square Garden with her dance team. She also enjoys singing, ice-skating, photography, making movies with her friends and weekend sleepovers.
After years of pain in her joints and jaw, Sydney was diagnosed with polyarticular JRA at age 12. By faithfully taking her medication, staying active and keeping a positive attitude, she lives each day to the fullest. When her arthritis flares, she slows down and rests, but her enthusiasm remains high.
Sydney’s greatest challenge was finding the courage to face up to her fear of needles. “I knew it was my biggest fear, but I had to get over it in order to feel better,” she says. “Once I got over the fear of needles, they seemed like nothing. Now, the swelling in my joints went down a lot and I feel much better,” she adds. “Getting over my fear was so worth it in the end.”
Sydney and her family found the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk as a positive outlet. “It’s important to become involved because it makes you feel accomplished,” she says. “Everyone was there for me that day, and it made me feel so special. I also felt that I was doing something that was helping not only me, but other people.” Sydney has felt the support of her friends, as well, by “not judging me when I take my medicine at their houses during sleepovers.” They also helped her support the Foundation with a fundraiser at her school’s holiday concert last year and by signing up for this year’s Jingle Bell Run.
Copyright 2010, Arthritis Foundation. Adapted with permission from Kids Get Arthritis Too, 2009.