Raising awareness about arthritis - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Raising awareness about arthritis

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ABC 33/40 is sponsoring this year's "Jingle Bell Run" in Railroad Park Saturday.

It benefits The Arthritis Foundation. One team gearing up for the event includes a Helena mom and her six-year-old daughter who both suffer from the autoimmune disease.

"You have a good day at school today, tell me what you did?"

Life hasn't always been a hop, skip and a jump for six year old Julia Vaughn. "She would wake up 10, 12, 20 times a night screaming and kicking and crying."

Her mother says a swollen ankle brought the problem to light.

"Julia was diagnosed four years ago with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis." Not only does Julia have the same name as her mother - they both have arthritis.  "I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 2 years ago."

They get Enbrel shots together once a week to control the pain. Vaughn says "Little Jules", is doing better because of early detection. "Some children go a long time without being diagnosed and it can cause some damage to their joints."

It can even affect vision. Jules gets her eyes checked every four months. Despite getting tired - Jules is still able to be like any active little girl. She dances and cheers.  Jules says. "What I like to do to make me feel better is lay down until I'm not tired."

Vaughn says most people don't realize it's common for children to have arthritis. It can strike at any age and affects millions. That's why both mother and daughter will trek side by side at Saturday's jingle bell run to support the arthritis foundation.

Vaughn says "We're here to raise money in hopes there can be something to help our children and all of us to feel better and get rid of arthritis all together."

The "Jingle Bell Run" will start at 9:00 a.m.  It's a 5-K run or walk. ABC 33/40's "Good Morning Alabama" team will be there. You can tie some jingle bells to your laces or wear a holiday themed costume to get into the spirit.

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