Ten-year-old Cheyanne Campo has achieved a lofty goal, despite - and because of - a sometimes painful disease. She has raised more than $500 for the Arthritis Foundation and will be participating in the organization's annual Arthritis Walk on June 23 in Battery Park.
Cheyanne, who lives in Woodhaven, has juvenile arthritis, which causes pain and swelling in her knees and other joints. Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term that refers to many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
Cheyanne was only three years old when her parents knew something was terribly wrong. It was Christmas day, and her knee was painfully swollen. Her father had to carry her down the stairs so she could open her presents.
Over the years, she has maintained a positive attitude and nowadays devotes much time to educating others about juvenile arthritis. Thanks to specialized care and treatment by a pediatric rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Cheyanne is living life as a happy 10-year-old.
Dr. Emma Jane MacDermott, her rheumatologist at Special Surgery, says medical advances have enabled many young patients to live life to the fullest. Hospital for Special Surgery is also supporting the upcoming Arthritis Walk, and hospital teams have raised more than $7,000 so far.
"When a child is diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, many parents are worried and upset," Dr. MacDermott says. "They are thinking about a future for their child full of problems, and we really like to reassure parents that's not the case. A lot of parents worry that their children shouldn't be in sports, they won't be able to take part in physical activity, and that's often not the case."
Although her knees occasionally hurt, Cheyanne has little time to rest. She has already surpassed her goal of raising $500 for the Arthritis Foundation Walk. She has recruited her family and friends for the effort, and they sport t-shirts that say "Team Cheyanne."