“I'm not going to lie. It's been tough,” says Rebecca's father, Dennis Kuo of Little Rock, Ark., who remembers the day he saw Rebecca limping, her knees swollen. “Rebecca looks and acts like any normal child. But, at home she's getting shots and pills. “The uncertainty of what's ahead is frightening.”

Kuo, a pediatrician, applauds Patrick's efforts bringing attention to JA. “It's frustrating because there isn't a test for JA. As a result, many children don't get diagnosed early and live in pain. Too, I have found that treatments can vary from doctor to doctor, which adds to the frustration and confusion.”

It's a reality that Patrick is reminded of when he sees the bracelet on his wrist.

“I've had time to think some pretty big truths out here,” says Patrick. “Too many young people with arthritis will never know what it's like to run. I want to help find a cure and encourage kids to live a physically fit life. If kids can stay active they are more inclined to stay curious, which is what life is about.”

What's next for Patrick? “Finding a job, ideally in something that involves running or marketing or both. That would be awesome.”

Road Trip: What's in the Bag?
For his ambitious 2,500-mile trek, Patrick packed a baby jogging stroller with everything from clothes to Band-Aids.

• Two-man Eureka tent
• Clothes (three pairs running shorts, two short sleeve shirts, one long sleeve shirt, two sets of SmartWool base layers, five pairs of SmartWool socks, rain pants and jacket)
• Sleeping bag
•Extra pair of size 11½ or 12 ASICS running shoes (uses one pair for every 500 miles. Has new ones shipped along his route. Alternates with size 12s to prevent blisters when feet swell.)
• GU Energy Nutritional Gel Packs (donated by GU)
• Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Patrick stops at markets along his route every two days and prepares a dozen sandwiches at a time since he eats up to eight a day to help meet his daily 7,000-calorie intake)
• Water (48-ounce Camelback pouch and 16-ounce water bottle)
• Sunscreen
• Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo)
• First aid kit (Band-Aids, Neosporin)
• Tire repair kit for the baby jogger
Patrick’s Favorite iPhone Apps
• Google Maps: “Indispensable.”
• Around Me: “No time to look for a post office or supermarket. It's perfect.”
• Weather: “Nice to see what's in store weather-wise.”
• Text Message: “My chief means of keeping in touch.”
• Blog Press: “A blogger's must-have.”
• Tilt Shift Gen: “Photo editing app is perfect for images I take for my Web site.”