The Fultondale resident who will turn 6 on her next birthday has been afflicted with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was a toddler.
“It’s not just adults who suffer from arthritis,” said Bailey’s mother, Kim Warren, who is currently promoting the Sixth Annual Jasper Arthritis Walk, an event that will be held Nov. 6 starting at Gamble Park and the Bevill State Community College Quadrangle. The fundraiser will kick off at 8 a.m. and the walk will start at 9 a.m.
The theme for this year’s event is “Let’s Move Together.” The event will feature a health and wellness fair, dog walk, costume contest and the Show Us Your Moves dance contest.
Also this year, Bailey will be the junior honoree of the arthritis walk.
Warren, said when Bailey is playing, it’s not always apparent that anything is wrong with the child with caramel-colored tresses.
“If you see her run and jump you’d think she was a normal child,” said Kim, who explain that Bailey’s ability to overcome her disorder is due largely to her being diagnosed at age 2.
Kim has seen first-hand how devastating juvenile diabetes can be.
“When we left the hospital when she was diagnosed we saw some children in braces that were crippled, some that were bed-ridden and some who were blind.”
Because of Bailey’s condition, she is required to receive chemotherapy shots on a weekly basis. She also has to take eye drops to combat uveitis, which is an inflamation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye.
“That is the main thing we struggle with,” Kim said about her daughter’s uveitis. “She has been through a lot in three years.”
Kim said her daughter is not alone. She said, “4,500 kids in Alabama have some type of arthritis. Bailey is just one of them.”
Among adults, Kim said 1.2 million Alabamians suffer from arthritis.
Kim said children’s arthritis is often misdiagnosed as simple growing pains.
Thankfully, Bailey’s pediatrician did blood work when Bailey was taken to the doctor for swelling in her knee. Bailey’s white blood cell count prompted him to send Bailey to an orthopedic surgeon who drew fluid from her knee. “When they saw the fluid coming out of her knee, they sent her to Children’s Hospital that night,” Kim said.
Kim said she was surprised to learn her daughter had arthritis.
Because the medication currently being used to treat Bailey, Remicade, has stopped working, doctors plan to put her on Orencia as soon as she turns 6. The drug is not yet approved for children 5-and-younger.
However, Kim said her daughter is fortunate to live in a location in which there is a pediatric rheumatologist.
“The main problem kids run into is they don’t have a pediatric rheumatologist in their state. So some of them have to travel several hours to maybe overnight to get to a hospital with a pediatric rheumatologist.”
The walk not only raises money for arthritis research, but also increases awareness of the seriousness of arthritis.
Additional information on the walk can be obtained by calling 205-979-5700 or by visiting the websites www.letsmovetogether.org or www.jasper2010aw.kintera.org.