July is Juvenile Arthritis (JA) Awareness Month. To help raise awareness of the more than 300,000 — or one in every 250 — children in the U.S. who are affected by some form of JA, the Lentini Family has shared the story of their son Parker, his battle against JA, and the hope they maintain despite all obstacles.
My son Parker’s journey with JA began 10 years ago when he was in elementary school. When he started displaying symptoms of intense pain, fevers, rash, extreme fatigue and bruising, we feared lymphoma, multiple sclerosis or leukemia.
It took us one year and seven months of trips to multiple doctors to even get a diagnosis, and it took another six months after that to get the correct diagnosis: systemic on-set juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Yes, arthritis. What is often associated with old age can affect children as well, resulting in inflamed joints that cause pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of motion.