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Celebrate Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month with patient Gracie

This July, patients, families, and staff at Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are celebrating Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), is a form of arthritis that causes debilitating inflammation and stiffness of joints in children. Bringing awareness to this condition can help provide understanding and community for the over 300,000 kids in the US impacted by JA, like Gracie.


As a baby, Gracie was diagnosed at Lurie Children’s with an extremely rare disorder known as an auditory brainstem pathway dysfunction, which could potentially affect her hearing and speech development. Gracie began working with speech and audiology therapists on identifying sounds to help with her hearing loss. “Lurie Children’s stepped up to the plate and helped her overcome it,” says Gracie’s mother, Sylwia.

Not long after, she was also diagnosed with neutropenia, a condition caused by an abnormally low concentration of white blood cells that leaves the body vulnerable to infections, for which she received treatment for 18 months. She was a perfectly healthy child for three months—until she was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis in her ankles, knees, and eyes, and had to start a full year of treatment. At this moment there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. Kids like Gracie rely on medical care to control pain levels, reduce inflammation and maintain mobility. While in medicated remission, Gracie still undergoes regular treatment at the hospital.

This treatment allows Gracie to be a fun-loving five-year-old who loves animals and dolls, coloring, making jewelry and reading. She adores her team of caregivers at Lurie Children’s and wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

This July , wear blue in honor of Gracie, and the many other Juvenile Arthritis patients who rely on the hospital every day for quality care!