A picture of Blair
Why Juvenile Arthritis?
I have chosen to spread awareness for Juvenile Arthritis (JA) due to the condition’s close connection to my family. My young cousin, Blair, was recently diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. The diagnosis was both painful and comforting. While the whole family was saddened to learn of what Blair would have to fight through for the rest of her life, it was comforting to finally have a diagnosis, and begin the first step towards treatment.
The journey to diagnosis, however, was not an easy one. Blair had to go through months of pain without diagnosis or treatment. Almost every week she was in the hospital or doctor’s office for bloodwork, simply to rule out many different, and far deadlier, diseases. As the list of possible conditions she suffered from narrowed, Blair was lucky enough to find a wonderful local doctor specializing in Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Though awareness for Juvenile Arthritis is spreading, many people do not realize how fortunate Blair was just to find a doctor who could treat her condition. In Atlanta right now, there are a whopping five pediatric rheumatologists. Juvenile Arthritis affects over 300,000 children in the United States, yet there is only 350 board certified practicing pediatric rheumatologists in the country. In the coming years, this number may dwindle to even fewer with the average pediatric rheumatologist being over 50 years old. Atlanta is lucky to even have five of these doctors considering eight different states do not have a single one and five states have only one. This void in the medical field has led to 75% of children who suffer from JA not receiving adequate treatment.
Distribution of pediatric rheumatologists across the country
Drop a pin and see if you live in an area with a shortage of pediatric rheumatologists
In order to raise awareness for Juvenile Arthritis and get people talking about the disease, I have created this snapchat filter to spread the word.