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Trees of Hope: Kylie's Arthritis Story

Darren Danielson
Updated: December 03, 2019 02:20 PM

When you hear the word arthritis, your thoughts might go to grandma or grandpa. Many people don't know however, that more than 300,000 children in the U.S. suffer from arthritis.

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A high school football field is perhaps the last place you'd expect to find anyone suffering from painful arthritis, but this is where we got to meet 15-year old Kylie Larson.

"I like being busy," Kylie told us. "It keeps my mind off things like the pain and stuff."

Kylie helps manage the Superior Spartan football team at least three days a week. But every day this determined teenager has to manage through arthritis pain.

She told us the pain has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. "It was pretty much constant, but it would be worse in the mornings." She said it was very confusing to her when she was little. "It was like, I just didn't know what was going on, I didn't know why it was like happening to me."

Kylie's Mom, Heidi remembers vividly when her daughter's arthritis trouble began.

"She was scared, well actually she was angry," Heidi said. "She was really angry, she didn't want to be different, she just wanted to be just a normal kid."

"Yeah, I didn't really accept it," Kylie said. "I didn't want to take any medicine for it, I didn't want to do anything for it."

Eventually though, family and friends convinced Kylie to attend a conference on arthritis.

"I think that was the first time I realized, I'm not alone in this. Since I was so young when I first got it, I didn't think anyone else knew what I was going through. But at the conference you meet other children that have it too and it makes you feel as if you have people there for you," she said with a grin.

Mom agrees, saying that conference changed everything.

"Now she wants to tell everyone about arthritis!" Heidi said, laughing. "I'm actually very proud of her!"

"I want to make people more aware," Kylie said. "I don't even think a lot of adults know that children can have arthritis, and it's important to have awareness before you can have any change."

And that willingness to help others is why Kylie has been named the arthritis foundation's young adult honoree for 2019.

With a smile on her face, Kylie said, "I want younger people to know, they're not alone in it."

After high school Kylie plans to go to college and become a lawyer. And with her determination and positive attitude, she'll no doubt accomplish that, and more.

The Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run is Saturday, December 7. It's a great fundraiser for the whole family.

Kylie's mom, Heidi also has a local support group for parents of kids with arthritis. For more resources, click here.

Credits

Darren Danielson

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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