My name is Caroline Eimer and I was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 10. I am currently 14 years old, and in the 9thgrade at Cranford High School. The arthritis started in my fingers, and then spread to my hands and wrists. As time went on it started to spread to my knees, ankles, hips, and back. I have been a dancer since I was three years old and I never held back since then, even when times got tough. Thankfully, I was connected to Dr. Chalom and received great information, medical treatment, and advice. After being put on many different medications we finally found one that made me feel great, Enbrel. I also went to physical therapy three times a week for a year at Accent on Hands, which made intense improvements on my body. Because of them, I went from not being anywhere near to making a fist with my hands, or even to flex my wrists, to being pretty flexible and much more mobile.
I was on Enbrel for several years and then gradually when my symptoms started to fade away my dosage was lowered and lowered until I came completely off of it. This August in 2012 I was taken off all medication completely, and since then I feel amazing! I would like to thank all of the hard working scientists and doctors for creating such life changing medicines. I would also love to thank my family and friends for always being so supportive and loving, and donating money to the Arthritis Foundation.
Volunteers make things possible. I would like to thank all the volunteers that support the Arthritis Foundation because without them great changes wouldn't be possible. In addition, all of the accommodations from Beyond Dance, the studio at which I dance, really helped me get through tough times smoothly. I absolutely cannot forget Orange Avenue School and Cranford High School, for always helping me with any special accommodations I might have needed. Overall, I would like to thank everyone for always believing in me. I am truly honored to be this year’s teen honoree. Staying healthy, a consistent exercise plan, and all of my supports have really helped me come along to where I stand today. In closing, I’d like to share a quote that one of my favorite dance instructors, Mr. Jean Paul Jr., shared with me that made me always keep my chin up and never lose hope...
"Pain Is Temporary, But Quitting Is Forever!"