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2017 Child Honoree, Oliver – Age 6
When Oliver was 15 months old, I noticed there were times when he struggled to hold a sippy cup and his hands would turn blue, then white, then red, and be very painful. His PCP sent us immediately to a pediatric Cardiologist at Hershey Medical Center. After spending 30 minutes listening to our family history and examining Oliver, he explained to us why he thought Oliver was suffering from Raynaud’s Phenomenon as a secondary disease to JIA. Oliver’s family has a history autoimmune arthritis. His Mother was diagnosed at 9, his Uncle at 14, and he has several grandparents who suffered as children as well. We immediately scheduled an appointment with Oliver’s mother’s former pediatric Rheumatologist who after blood work, MRIs and x-rays, is now treating him for JIA.
Along with the Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Oliver suffers from arthritis in his jaw which required immediate and aggressive treatment. At just 3, Oliver began methotrexate. After a dose increase, a round of steroids and a second MRI, Oliver’s jaw is finally responding to treatment. He also suffers from swelling in his ligaments and tendons that is causing a lack of balance, his knees to bow inward and severe pain. He was recently fitted for orthotic ankle braces and we are hopeful that his pain and swelling will decrease with the added support the braces will give him. If successful, we will be able to hold off on increasing his medications.
His arthritis hasn’t just been a physical struggle. At 3, Oliver began to attend preschool and struggled with keeping up with other children due to pain. Through extra support given by Therapeutic Support Staff members, the IU13, occupational and physical therapies in and outside of school, Oliver is now in his second, full time, year of preschool and is learning how to live with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.