Arthritis Foundation

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by Jennifer Tomazic

MUKWONAGO -- A second grade class at Clarendon Avenue Elementary in Mukwonago got a lesson from a classmate on Juvenile Arthritis.

Victoria Anderson has been living with the disease for the last two years. She was diagnosed when she was six.

"No matter how much it hurts, i just keep going," said Victoria.

But sometimes she needs some help and that's why she wanted to let her fellow classmates know about what she's going through.

She has weekly infusions and her mom, Brenda, has to get her up three hours before school to put on ice packs and heating pads and give Victoria her steroids.

"This is normal for her now," said Brenda.

Juvenile Arthritis affects 300,000 kids nationwide and that's why the Arthritis Foundation is so important to families like the Andersons.

"For people who are just finding out or just diagnosed with arthritis we're a great place for research, learning more about the disease, connecting them with other people who have arthritis," said Hayley Wolf, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Arthritis Foundation's Upper Midwest Region. "We help them find ways to get involved in the community."

One of those things is the Arthritis Walk. It's coming up on May 19 at University Lake School in Hartland and Victoria has been chosen the honoree for it.

"She has so much energy and she's such a great example of what you're life can be like with arthritis," said Wolf. "You don't have to let it take you down."

"She wants to share about her disease with other kids and hope that they won't go through what she goes through and hope to educate them," said Brenda.

And Victoria says she feels like she has. After her presentation and question/answer session at school, she thinks her classmates may understand what she's going through and be able to help her more when she needs it.

Victoria plans on helping more people by supporting the Arthritis Foundation and the upcoming Arthritis Walk.'

"I feel good because I know that we're raising enough money for arthritis and someday we might find a cure," said Victoria.

For information on the Arthritis Foundation and the Arthritis Walk, log onto www.arthritis.org or call 800-333-1380.

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