Walk Hero Claire Brenner Pledges to Make Journey Easier for Others
Juvenile Arthritis is one of the most common chronic illnesses affecting children, yet it often goes undetected or misdiagnosed when symptoms first appear. One North Texas 6th grader understands this firsthand and she is making plans to lead the way to help generate awareness for others suffering with arthritis by rallying support and sponsoring a team at the upcoming Walk to Cure Arthritis North Texas at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Saturday, May 3. Visit www.walktocurearthritisnorthtx.org.
At 12-years-old, Frisco’s Claire Brenner has refused to let her diagnosis get the best of her. Committed to raising awareness about the disease, she’s leading the charge as the 2014 Youth Honoree in the annual Walk to Cure Arthritis North Texas. She will be joined by a host of family, friends and classmates as part of her fundraising team during the event this spring. The North Texas Walk is one of more than 130 similar events across the nation in recognition of National Arthritis Month in May. The Walk will unite the North Texas community to put an end to arthritis, a chronic disease that affects 53 million adults in the U.S., four million Texans and more than 25,000 children across the state, like Claire.
Claire was just a six-year-old when her parents knew something was terribly wrong. It all started when she woke up in the middle of the night unable to walk. The doctors treated it as a virus, but Claire continued having joint pain so the doctors referred her to Scottish Rite Hospital where she was later diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
After their daughter was properly diagnosed, Claire’s parents learned that Juvenile Arthritis is an umbrella term that refers to many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. Juvenile arthritis affects 300,000 children in the U.S. While there are many forms of juvenile arthritis one common thread among them is that they can have a serious, even life-threatening impact on a young child. It’s important for caregivers to know the signs and symptoms.
Claire’s treatments included a battery of lab work, x-rays MRI’s, weekly steroid injections and frequent rheumatology visits and eye exams. Through it all, the Arthritis Foundation has been an invaluable resource and steadfast supporter to Claire and her family. Participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis North Texas is just one way Claire has been working to make a difference in the lives of others who face the challenges of living with arthritis pain every minute of every day.
Last year, Claire organized her classmates at Frisco Montessori Academy and led a school read-a-thon which raised more than $4,000 for the Arthritis Foundation. This fundraising activity was capped off by the support that Claire’s fundraising team generated at the Arthritis Walk in 2013.
“Supporting the Arthritis Foundation is one way we can help give back to an organization that has done so much for us,” said Claire. “By doing so we help other kids like me. Raising funds in the Walk gives us hope that we will someday find a cure for arthritis and better the lives of those who have this disease so that nobody else has to deal with the things that I do. I hope people will donate and walk with me so I can achieve my goal of helping find a cure.”
The Walk to Cure Arthritis North Texas will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, at Globe Life Park in Arlington and features a three-mile and one-mile course. The Walk to Cure Arthritis raises funds and awareness to fight the nation's leading cause of disability. The event includes information about arthritis and fun activities for the entire family. Pet owners are encouraged to bring their dogs. For more information or to register online visit: www.walktocurearthritisnorthtx.org.