De Pere girl discusses experience with juvenile arthritis

Local News

DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. The disease 300,000 kids have been diagnosed with nationwide.

A De Pere 12-year-old is speaking out about her experience with the autoimmune disease after being diagnosed at just four years old.

Lily Laurent says arthritis mostly impacts her knees and legs. She and her mother, Anne, spoke with WFRV Local 5 about how it has impacted their family – and how much of a difference finding a community has made.

“When we were first diagnosed, we didn’t know another family – I mean, I didn’t even know kids could get arthritis – and we ended up at the rheumatologist,” Anne tells WFRV Local 5. “It can be scary, and you can feel alone. And there are groups, in Green Bay and the Fox Valley and in Wisconsin, where we’ve met other families and she’s met other kids.”

There is no known cure for the disease, but Lily is doing well and heading toward remission.

Her doctor says that patients should watch for the symptoms of juvenile arthritis, such as unusual amounts of aches and pains.

“If your child has redness and swelling and especially a lot of stiffness in the morning where they’re walking like an old man or old woman, limping, I mean these are the signs that should, you know, at least, first start with your pediatrician,” Dr. Paul Tuttle, a rheumatologist with Orthopedic & Sports Medicine in Green Bay, tells WFRV Local 5.

Lily created a video about her journey with arthritis.

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