When Courtney was first diagnosed in January 2011, her parents were surprised by several things: how little they knew about arthritis, how few pediatric rheumatologists there are in the country and finally the cost of medicine.So they decided to do something to raise money and awareness which is what brought them to the Arthritis Foundation and the Walk to Cure Arthritis.
Initially people had lots of questions about Courtney’s Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, including her teachers at New World United Methodist Church Day School where they had not had a student before with JRA.The symptoms of arthritis are not easy to see, like fatigue and aching joints, so her parents had to really trust the school to take good care of Courtney.Needless to say, they do an amazing job watching Courtney closely, never pushing her to overexert and keeping attentive about her hand washing so that viruses don't spread. It doesn’t stop there however. In 2014 Courtney's teacher was on the family’s email list asking for Walk support and donations, and asked if she could sign up, fundraise, and bring her whole family out to walk.Courtney and her parents were so surprised and happy that her teacher was interested in supporting them and encouraging other teachers to walk as well. This year was a little different though in that the teachers were asking about the walk before the family had even signed up!Mrs. Wright, Courtney's kindergarten teacher, created a "change" project where she asked all the kids to bring loose change from home to sort and count (they are learning about money) and donate it all to the Arthritis Foundation.
“When I thank the teachers for supporting Courtney, they say things about how Courtney is an angel and a warrior and a hero for the IVs and pain she goes through, all the time keeping a brave smile on her face”, said her mother Shelley Warren. “I think there is a feeling among a lot of people who support our team that we all have issues, something that we are facing, and Courtney's is just much more serious than ours, and she is so little and faces a lifetime of it, but she has this great positive attitude about it, likely because she doesn't know anything different.”
Courtney and her family have done a phenomenal job sharing the spirit and goal of the Arthritis Foundation and the Walk to Cure Arthritis, to engage individuals and families living with and treating Arthritis, to educate the community about the disease and to help generate support bringing us one step closer to finding a cure.
On behalf of Courtney and the more than 962,000 North Texans living with arthritis, thank you for fundraising and participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis!
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