Juvenile Systemic Arthritis. Like many people, the Wagner-Harper family had never heard of this condition until one morning when their healthy two year old son, Brady, awoke in pain. He couldn’t get himself out of bed to walk and cried out to his parents that his knees hurt. His parents thought that Brady must have fallen or twisted his knee, but with no physical evidence of bruising or swelling and a growing fever and body rash, the family rushed to the hospital.
With no clear cause in sight, they were sent on a rollercoaster of hospital visits with no clear diagnosis or treatment plan. On Christmas morning 2010, after documenting Brady’s daily life and the cycle of fevers and pain, a pediatric rheumatologist from Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto told them that Brady had Juvenile Systemic Arthritis and sadly, there is no cure.
The medication suggested for Brady came at a high price tag of $17,000 per month. However, with the support from Sick Kids Hospital and the compassionate team at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Brady was approved for two years of medication funding. The family was thrilled with the results, “it was nothing short of a miracle for us”, says Brady’s father, Chris. Brady’s arthritis has been in remission and has been medication free for more than two years! He is now seven years old, pain free and enjoying the activities and sports every child should be able to enjoy. “We would love to know that no parent would ever have to experience what we went through”, says Chris. The family helps to raise awareness about The Arthritis Society and the services provided to the community by participating in the Walk to Fight Arthritis.
IBEW Local Union 120 is the lead sponsor of the Walk to Fight Arthritis on June 5th in London and when asked what moves them to get involved, Business Manager/Financial Secretary, Michael A Gratton explains:
“We continuously support programs in our community that touch the heart of our membership and community, such as Brady's story. In a trade that is so physically demanding, we understand the suffering a member can bare, when dealing with the discomfort and pain that comes with arthritis of any form. That makes it so rewarding to be able to help fund cutting edge arthritis research that is committed to the most promising projects to help understand the causes, prevention and treatments for various forms of arthritis.”
IBEW Local Union 120 and the many other business partners of the Walk to Fight Arthritis challenge and invite you to show people living with arthritis you care by donating or registering for Walk to Fight Arthritis by visiting: www.walktofightarthritis.ca.