Juvenile Arthritis, More Prevalent Than You Think

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Laughter is key in the Wilson household.

"You have to laugh, what else can you do, you cry or you laugh," said Carie Wilson, mother of three.

It's a sweet sound that soothes the harder parts of the day for two of the Wilson children, Braelyn and Layden.

The siblings both suffer from juvenile arthritis.

"The spot that mostly hurts all the time, is mostly my knees and legs," said Braelyn Wilson, 6.

Two children with juvenile arthritis is rare, but the Wilson family didn't shy away from tough reality.

"We kind of just said as a family, we can either let this disease take us, or we are going to fight it. And we just decided as a family we are going to fight through it," said Wilson.

Juvenile arthritis is the second most common form of autoimmune disease seen in children. It falls just behind diabetes. It's rarely fatal, but requires constant treatment and medication.

"One of our major goals is to keep all children active with arthritis, we find that arthritis responds to activity, that it lessens their severity of symptoms because it keeps their joints loose," said Dr. Adam Reinhardt, Rheumatology.

Juvenile arthritis isn't like adult rheumatoid arthritis which is normally deforming. The areas that juvenile arthritis normally affects are the lower extremities on children such as their knees, hips, ankles, and wrists.

Layden and Braelyn aren't alone in this.

"A bunch of other kids have arthritis," said Layden Wilson, 8.

Close to 700 children have the disease in Nebraska. Close to 300,00 across the U.S.

Sadly behind each of these statistics, is the fact that there is currently no cure.

"It's hard, I mean you feel like you failed them in a way, but then you also have to, even though it is hard and it is upsetting to us as parents, you also have to not show them that, because they still have to live their life," said Wilson.

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