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8 Year Old Chooses to Raise Awareness for Juvenile Arthritis in Lieu of Birthday Presents

Submitted by on May 10, 2012 – 9:16 am2 Comments

Let’s Move Together – Arthritis Walk – Team Kaetlyn


There are people all around us dealing with issues every day and if you take a minute to get to know someone you may just find out how much they are dealing with. A networking friend of mine helps her daughter deal with real pain every day.

Meet Kaetlyn Rodriguez. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at 18 months old. She has to have two shots a week. Saturday use to be Kaetlyn’s favorite day, but not since it has become shot day; she does not look forward to Saturdays. Kaetlyn says: “I really wish I did not have this disease. I hope one day they will find a cure. My mom always says God only gives you what you can handle. She says one day I will do something great. I hope she is right”.

Kaetlyn had the idea to have her 8th birthday be a “fundraiser birthday” so she has joined the 2012 Let’s Move Together  – Arthritis Walk campaign. Kaetlyn is helping to raise funds for this important cause and has set up her own fundraising page. In lieu of giving her birthday presents, Kaetlyn is asking her friends and family to make a donation instead.

Kaetlyn is one of more than 300,000 children throughout the United States that are afflicted with arthritis.

These are some of the faces of arthritis:



If you’d like to support Team Kaetlyn and others in their fight against juvenile Arthritis by participating in the 2012 Let’s move Together – Arthritis Walk or volunteering your time for the event, visit this website for more information. If you’d like to support Kaetlyn with her fund raising efforts, visit Kaetlyn’s page.

The 2012 Let’s Move Together – Arthritis Walk
Saturday, May 19, 2012
12700 Park Central
Dallas, TX 75231
Registration 8:30am
Walk 10am

Let’s Move Together is a nationwide movement that encourages people to move daily for better health to prevent or treat arthritis. Moving just 30 minutes per day can ease joint pain, improve mobility and reduce fatigue.

Find new ways to move and share your story at



  • Susan CdB says:

    My daughter (who turns 8 this summer) was also diagnosed with juvenile arthritis before her 2nd birthday. She has been on many medications, including Prednisone, Methotrexate, Humira, Enbrel, Naproxen, several different eye drops for uveitis and several medications for ulcerative colitis. We have been so fortunate to receive free care at Scottish Rite (though they will start charging for their services this year). Many kids with JA live in cities that do not have access to even one pediatric rheumatologist!!

    My daughter’s medical bills for her other illnesses cost us a small fortunate because of our lousy health insurance. Thankfully I discovered a diet that has helped her get off her injections and other medications. She’s not 100% yet, but she’s no worse than she was on the medications (in fact her SED rate is lower now than it was on medications). We tried dietary changes when she was first diagnosed six years ago because of other diagnoses from a few months before the onset of JA (peanut/tree nut allergy, chronic bronchitis, asthma), but eliminating those foods did not work.

    When she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, my research took a new turn toward what’s in our food supply as well as chemicals in every day products we use (personal care products, household cleaners, etc.). Why are so many kids and adults being diagnosed with autoimmune diseases? I have six family members who were all diagnosed with autoimmune illnesses in the last 10 years. Why? I don’t know. But because they live in different areas of the country, other than genes (though some of the affected family members are not related by DNA), the major common threads are food and products we might all consume/use.

    Fortunately for us, dietary changes now seem to be helping my daughter, along with supplements (Vitamin D, Omega-3s, Curcumin and probiotics).

    We will be at the Arthritis Foundation walk next week and we can’t wait to attend our fifth Jambalaya Jubilee in Shreveport this June. It’s a fabulous low cost conference/camp for kids with rheumatic illness and their families. In case anyone reads this post who has a child with JA, you can more learn about the camp/conference here –

    JA is a horrible thing. Kids should be able to enjoy childhood without having to endure such pain, medications with unknown long-term side effects and possible deformities due to the destruction arthritis can have on the body.

    Best wishes to Kaetlyn in her fundraising efforts! We will keep an eye out for her team at the walk.

    Thanks for spreading the word about JA!

  • Suzanne says:

    Susan, I hope you will get a notification of this reply. Check your blog e-mail address.

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