Weekend At the Juvenile Arthritis Conference and BOD Dinner.


I arrived at the JA Conference and attended the Board of Directors dinner on Friday evening, July 8th where I caught up with old friends David Shuey, Chair of the Board and Dr. John Klippel, President and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. Dr. Klippel was surprised to learn that I was an avid baseball fan. And, of course coming from Pittsburgh, the Pirates are my favorite team. On Saturday, children, tweens and teens attended my “Mind Over Matter” sessions. I really love working with the children and telling them how I overcame my arthritis and that they can to with the right mind-set and determination. I like to show them some of the techniques that have worked for me over the years. It was surprising to hear one of the 8 year olds asked what I couldn’t do and another said she wanted to be just like me. Among the pieces of music that I played for them was Happy Birthday, because every day is a new day. I always tell them to have more than one dream in case one doesn’t work out. On Sunday at the closing ceremony, I spoke to the parents and told them my story and also related my experiences with their children the day before. I am so honored to work with these courageous children and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference in Indianapolis. Before playing for the parents, I asked that everybody get in touch with their Congressional leaders to urge funding for research because there will be a cure.