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Madison’s Power Story (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis JRA)

Madison Juvenile RAHi, I’m Madison. I saw my friend post something in here about her Lupus so I thought it was time for me to share my story. Though I do not have lupus, I have arthritis in every joint and it causes many pains. I’m 14 years old (soon to be 15) and a freshman in high school. I have had my arthritis since I was in 5th grade (4years).

Being in high school with arthritis can be challenging. Many do not know what it is, or why I have it at such a young age. People are always wondering why I get off easy in gym or why teachers give me extra time while doing writing assignments. They do not know why I’m on so much medication or why I go to the hospital every other month. I think this is because I do not open myself up enough and they don’t open their minds to the possibility of a young girl having arthritis in every joint.

When I was first diagnosed with JRA so many people in school thought that if they touched me they would get it or that my disease was deadly – for the record, ARTHRITIS ISN’T DEADLY NOR CONTAGIOUS. I have had to tell so many people this and I’ve told my story a hundred times yet these young teenagers in society deny the possibility of such a disease in a young person. They deny all evil, all bad in society. But it’s time for a wake up call. Yes, not many people have my disease but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t out here fighting off the pain everyday wishing we could do things like all the other kids.

Rheumatoid arthritis in children causes swelling, tenderness, and pain involving one or more joints and sometimes leads to impaired growth and development, limitation of movement, and ankylosis and flexion contractures of the joints – it is often accompanied by systemic manifestations. There is no cure for arthritis within children. Scientists are still trying to find a cure but they are starting to say that it’s going to take years and years until the cure is found. And still, day to day, kids are having pain that sometimes feels unbearable.

Though you might feel alone, you aren’t. Camp JRA brings many kids with all types of arthritis and lupus together to support each other. Something about the camp makes you want to never leave. It has this special thing about it that’s unexplainable. The camp definitely has magic in multiple ways and it makes you a stronger person inside.

Yes, I might have arthritis. But does that mean I am weak? No, it does not. If anything, this disease has made me stronger than most girls in so many ways. I have learned to move forward and love my disease. It’s opened so many doors and it gives inspiration to many out there.

Submitted 11-14-10

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Brittany Tassin

    Hi Madison,
    I just wanted to leave a small note on here telling you how awesome it is that you have posted your story about having JRA. I am 21 years old and also have JRA. I was diagnosed with it before I turned 1 years old. So I have lived with it all my life and luckily I only have it in my knees. It is in my right knee more than my left but there have been findings of it in my left knee. I have had one surgery to scrape some of the arthritis out and went through some pretty painful physical therapy when I was in the 8th grade. I am now a junior in college and have recently been in remission for a few years so the doctors say. But I completely understand the doctor appointments and all the medications that you are taking. And yes the doctors have told me the same thing about the scientists are so close to finding a cure.. But so close like you said can still take many many years. But anyways I just wanted to say it was great hearing your story and I did not even know there was a camp that people can go to, to hear other people’s stories and meet others who are also dealing with arthritis.

  2. Madison B.

    Hi Madison, my name is Madison too! and i also have arthritis, in my right knee & ankle. Since i was 3yrs old. So, i’ve had it for 13yrs. I struggle all the time, and wish i could run like other kids, and play my favorite sport(soccer) but i cant. When i first got diagnosed, they said i’d be in a wheelchair by now, but i walk on my own two feet and theres no need for wheels. 🙂 When im 18, im probably going to get knee replacement surgery. But im not too worried about it because i’ll be able to walk better. Feel free to add me on facebook. 🙂 🙂 its nice to know, someone else has what i have. 🙂

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