Submitted by South Hill Community.
PUYALLUP, WA – 11 year old Isabella Walker, was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis in spring of 2017. “I was so shocked,” Isabella said. “I thought only ancient people got arthritis – boy, was I wrong!”
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Juvenile arthritis (JA), also known as pediatric rheumatic disease, isn’t a specific disease. It’s an umbrella term to describe the inflammatory and rheumatic diseases that develop in children under the age of 16. These conditions affect nearly 300,000 kids and teens in the United States.”
Isabella was not the only one surprised by this diagnosis. Despite her own shock and disbelief, Heidi Walker (Isabella’s mother), determined to put her hopes into the hands of those who could help her daughter have the best quality of life. “It is difficult to watch your child in pain,” she said. “We really had to place a lot of faith and trust in Heavenly Father, and her Rheumatologist.”
Last year, Isabella experienced a severe flare and had to be taken to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Emergency Room. During her stay, she endured several painful tests, bloodwork, and joint injections. However, after each painful procedure she received a toy, and walked away from the Rheumatology department feeling happy.
“Her care was exceptional”, Heidi shared. “We also did not have to worry about medical bills beyond our insurance, and that was a huge blessing considering her medications are extremely expensive.”
Seattle Children’s Hospital is ranked as one of the top pediatric hospitals, “with all 10 evaluated specialty programs being named among the best in the nation,” and currently is the “only rheumatology program in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to children and teens, 17 and under.”
“Our family wanted to give back to Seattle Children’s Rheumatology Department, so we formed #Team Isabella#. Our mission is to raise awareness about Juvenile Arthritis by going on walks and collecting toys to donate. Last June, we walked across the Tacoma Narrows and collected several toys from family, friends, [church] members, teachers, and neighbors. We also walked across the 520 Bridge last August, and collected more toys and donated them to Rheumatology.” Heidi continued, “[#TeamIsabella] has surpassed our expectations and has brought many in our community together.”
Throughout these experiences, Isabella has not only learned to overcome her fears, but she has inspired lives with her strength, changed hearts with her courage, and has became a shining light of hope and goodness to those around her.
“Since I found out I had Juvenile Arthritis I learned that sometimes you have to go through some scary things… I want other kids who also have to go through joint injections or bloodwork to have a special toy, to find the brightness, and know that the pain won’t last forever.”
To learn more about how you can support #Team Isabella#, find them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/groups/2455944551092065/?ref=share
* The Walker Family is a member of the Pioneer Valley Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Puyallup, Washington.Print This Post