Polyarticular Juvenile Arthritis Youth Honoree
Mitchell was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 2. The diagnosis process can be tricky at that age. His doctors had to perform many tests to identify his disease. For the last 15 years he has spent a chunk of his childhood taking medications and getting injections while seeing multiple medical specialists, attending physical therapy and enduring joint procedures. Today, there are times when he hurts, and “just feels like a clunky old man” when he walks. And though he does think of himself as an athlete – he played football and baseball from 4th to 10th grade - his arthritis can make playing sports very difficult at times. He recently started infusions, and along with the physical therapy, the combination seems to be managing his arthritis.Mitchell is now playing high school football thanks to his medications and the progress he's seen in physical therapy.
Mitchell enjoys spending time with his family, playing video games with his younger brother, Jake, and hunting and boating. He golfs on the weekends and loves to follow sports on TV. He has a younger sister named Julia, a golden doodle and a cat.
When asked what he’s most proud of he’ll tell you it’s his can-do attitude. "I never count myself out or allow myself to be defeated,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell's involvement with the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis showed him that he didn’t have to battle this disease alone. "I discovered a whole community that is out there waiting for me," said Mitchell.
Mitchell is bringing his can-do, people-person attitude to his role as the Walk to Cure Arthritis youth honoree. He hopes that his involvement in raising funds and arthritis awareness will help arthritis research continue to make strides.
Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Youth Honoree
For some time, Kylie told her mom that her hands “felt funny” in the morning. Her parents, Cory and Dawn, started to see nodules form on Kylie’s knuckles and the bends of her fingers. After noticing the nodules, they began to monitor them with her pediatrician. In October of last year, they noticed a sudden change in the appearance of the nodules.
This caught their pediatrician’s attention and he immediately started working to get Kylie in with pediatric rheumatologist, Dr. Graham. Three days after the visit with their pediatrician Kylie woke up, fell to the ground, and said she couldn’t walk. “To see our perfectly healthy, happy full of energy, sweet baby girl fall to the floor in crying pain was a fear that we had never experienced,” said Dawn.
Their pediatrician wanted to see her immediately (on a Sunday). He ran a panel that day and pushed even harder to get her in to Dr. Graham as soon as possible. On November 12, they finally met Dr. Graham and his amazing staff. A short examination quickly diagnosed Kylie with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
He immediately scheduled a sedated MRI with steroid injections in her wrists and ankles and started talking about in-home injections. “We have been blessed with an amazing pediatrician that acted fast. He wasn’t afraid to say that this was out of his scope and got Kylie in to Dr. Graham quickly. I feel blessed every day that we weren’t fighting for answers for months or even years. I can’t thank our medical team enough for all they have done,” states Kylie’s mom.
There are some things that Kylie has trouble doing because of her arthritis, like coloring with little crayons and cutting due to the opening and closing of the scissors. But they always find ways to adapt to accommodate Kylie’s love of play and creativity. For example, using big or triangle crayons in lieu of the little ones has been a real solution.
Her mom has observed that “jumping and running are both challenging for Kylie. She was in pain for so long that she’s only now really starting to learn how to do those things. We are lucky, Kylie is able to do more things today than she was a year ago and is getting stronger every day.”
Her greatest triumph is learning to read, teaching everything she knows to her younger brother, Cooper, and being the Walk to Cure Arthritis Nashville Youth Honoree.
Kylie is currently in swimming and gymnastics, and likes to play outside, swim, color, and do gymnastics.