Hello. My name is Benjamin Yanko. I'm six years old. My mom, Janine, is walking in the Walk for Arthritis. Wanna know why???
I have SJIA. That means Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. When I was 3.5, I was very sick for several months. I couldn't play like other kids. I couldn't bend over and put my socks on. I couldn't walk up the stairs at the playground. Every evening, I would get a very high fever and a rash. I felt horrible. It made my mom and dad really sad that they didn't know what was wrong and they didn't know how to help me. Even the doctors were baffled for a while. That's because SJIA is very rare. Who would have thought that a kid would have arthritis?? That's an older person disease? Sadly, no, it's not.
When the doctors finally figured out that I had the most rare form of kid arthritis, I was put on a medication. It's a needle that I have to get every night. That is REALLY hard. It hurts a lot. But I'm learning to be very brave, even though I sometimes question why it's me and why I have to get a needle every day when other kids don't.
But you know what?? IT HELPS SO MUCH! I'm able to run around, play sports, go to school every day! I LOVE hockey, football and soccer! This needle allows me to do those things. Mom says that the medication I get is pretty new. If this was 10 years ago, I wouldn't have this medication.
Mom says this medication was developed through research. And research is only possible through DONATIONS from people like YOU!!! Every little bit helps, because if lots of people give even a little bit, it ends up being a lot! There are a lot of kids that have SJIA that end up being VERY sick. The medication I'm on doesn't help them.
Please help. Please help me and other kids like me. We need you.
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