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James D. Kang, MD
Medical Honoree

A spine surgery specialist, Dr. Kang was previously the vice chairman of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Kang graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a chemical engineering degree in 1982 which was followed by a medical degree at the University of Oklahoma School of medicine in 1986. He then completed his residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1992 followed by a spine surgery fellowship at Case Western Reserve University in 1993. He joined the faculty of the orthopaedic surgery department at the University of Pittsburgh, then later promoted to full professor, and UPMC endowed chair in orthopaedic surgery in 2007. He held this position until 2015 when he was named chair of orthopaedic surgery at BWH.

"As the chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Brigham Health, I am very excited to be this year’s medical honoree for the Arthritis Foundation's Walk to Cure Arthritis. Our department has a rich history of treating adult patients of all ages afflicted with arthritis. Our faculty are actively engaged in cutting edge research, from stem cell biology to joint biomechanics, in order to devise future innovative therapies for arthritis. Please help me raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation so that the research can march forward,” says Dr. Kang.

Click here for more information on Brigham Health Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center.


Claire Johnson
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Adult Honoree

In 2012, Claire woke up in the middle of the night with unbearable pain in her wrist. She assumed it was sprained earlier that evening from a long night of waitressing, yet after X-rays, an MRI, and lots of blood work, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her first reaction was, "How could I have arthritis at 22?", but she later found out it was a lot more common; almost two-thirds of adults with arthritis in the U.S. are between 18-64 years old. Today, Claire’s arthritis is managed through a combination of pills, however she still suffers from limited mobility in her wrists and the occasional flare up in other various joints.

Claire’s husband, Kevin, has been a constant source of strength for her since her diagnosis. In 2016, Kevin decided to start a team for the Boston Walk to Cure Arthritis. Claire was initially uncomfortable with others finding out that she had RA, but after meeting fellow walk participants and getting to know the incredible work of the Arthritis Foundation, she was all in!

“I am proud to be recognized as the 2017 Adult Honoree for the Boston Walk to Cure Arthritis! She is grateful for this opportunity to shed light on some of the misconceptions of arthritis.”, says Claire.

Lily Kaplan
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Youth Honoree

Lily is currently a junior in high school and a member of the varsity volleyball team in the fall and will play varsity lacrosse in the spring.Lily really enjoys math and science classes and was lucky to spend a month last summer in the Bahamas studying ecology and marine sciences.It was a great experience and she is now looking at colleges where she can continue studying environmental Issues.She enjoys learning and working hard in school and is a member of the National Honor Society.Outside of school Lily enjoys photography, hanging out with friends and going on slow walks with her two basset hounds, Bonnie and Tucker!

Lily doesn’t think that her story is all that different from others with arthritis, but she hopes this event gives people a chance to connect.Lily was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) at age 6.While she’s experienced chronic joint pain and a few periods of remission, she feels lucky to have been able to lead an active lifestyle and enjoy competitive sports in high school. This past summer was her hardest, by far.She trained nearly every day for a 4 mile run plus 2 mile swim event.The daily pain was difficult to manage but she wanted to compete in the event.While it was a hard task, Lily is proud of her accomplishment and grateful to have had support from family and friends.

“I’ve participated in Arthritis walks for nearly 10 years. I am grateful for the great care I’ve received from my doctors, and bringing awareness to this disease is very important to me.I’m hopeful that events like this and continued research helps any person who lives with Arthritis.”, says Lily.




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