Arthritis Foundation of Wisconsin brings kids living with juvenile arthritis together for Bucks game

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- There were a lot of happy faces at Tuesday night's Bucks game, but perhaps the biggest smiles on the youngest fans.

We met a group of kids at their very first game, a matchup against the Wizards. These kids came together because they've gone through a lot in life, having been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.

Aiden Zwicker and his mom made the drive to Milwaukee from the La Crosse area, excited all the way.

"On a scale of 1-10, I say an 11," said Aiden Zwicker, a fifth grader from West Salem, Wisconsin.

Zwicker was just 16 months old when he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.

"I've had a couple surgeries, but right now everything's fine, totally fine," he said.

The game was a time to make connections for children and their families, like the Levas from Pewaukee.

"So I think that's just a saving grace for most of us, to have the support," said Pewaukee mom Leigh Levas.

Medications are out there, but even those can be difficult to deal with.

"So two shots a week and then I moved to one shot a week, and then I started getting knee injections," said Estella Levas, eighth grader.

"It's a hard thing to talk about for kids, and to have that group of kids that they can express their feelings to and not feel judged is really important," said Leigh.

The Arthritis Foundation of Wisconsin sets up fun times like these. They also have an annual camp.

"And the camp itself is a wonderful opportunity for these kids to go and be with each other. Adults don't really trust kids who are suffering through pain, and in fact a lot of doctors will misdiagnose it as general, like, growing pains," said Leah Delaney, associate director, Arthritis Foundation of Wisconsin. 

"I have a lot of good days, some bad days, but the bad days are pretty bad days," said Zwicker.

To anyone out there who may be going through something similar, Estella Levas says, "I think I would want to tell them that it does get better and that you're not alone."

There is a fundraiser coming up in April at the Pfister Hotel. Money raised helps pay for these kids to go to camp. 

For more information, click here

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