2013 JA News Masthead
July 2013
JA Conference Logo
Dreams Come True at National Juvenile Arthritis Conference 

Cheers and laughter rang out throughout the buzz of excitement during this year's National JA Conference on July 18-21 in Anaheim, Calif. More than 1,200 kids, teens, young adults and families of children with JA from 42 states and New Zealand benefited from educational sessions and fun, customized activities with their peers. JA supporters experienced highlights of the conference virtually through live-streamed sessions on arthritis.org/jaconf and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). 


Here are a few of the JA Conference highlights:

  • Debut of the new "Kids Get Arthritis Too" website (KidsGetArthritisToo.org)
  • Inspiring presentations from keynote speakers Deborah Snyder, producer of "Man of Steel" and Jeffrey Gottfurcht, the first person with RA to summit Mount Everest 
  • Three general sessions on research, advocacy and transitions for young adults
  • Two Family Fun Nights, including Arthritis Awareness Night at Disneyland
  • Presentation of 2013 National JA Awards of Excellence. Congratulations to the following outstanding award recipients who were honored for their remarkable contributions to the lives of children with JA: 
  • Kathy Angel Award for Parent Leadership
    Kate Kuhns (Heartland Region)
  • Dawn Hafeli Award for Youth Leadership
    -Nikole Andersen (Heartland Region)
  • James May Award for Young Adult Leadership 
    Stephanie Shapiro (Pacific Region)
  • Patty Rettig Award for Health Care Professional Leadership -Thuy Beam (Heartland Region)
  • Earl Brewer Award for Physician Leadership
    Lawrence Zemel, MD (New England Region)

Many thanks to dedicated and passionate volunteer planning committee co-chairs Mindy Ripley and Colleen Ryan, committee members, guest speakers, volunteers and staff who worked together to make this year's national conference an unforgettable and life-changing experience for the JA community. 


We would also like to express our heartfelt thanks to our generous national sponsors for making the JA Conference a reality:









Advocacy Month

Youth Programs



 September 18

Massage Envy

"Healing Hands for Arthritis" Day



 October 12

World Arthritis Day



 Jingle Bell Run/Walks



July 3-6

National Juvenile
Arthritis Conference

Keystone, Colorado 



JA Resources Blue  


Kids Get Arthritis Too



Social Media

JA Conference Facebook

AF National Facebook

AF National Twitter




Alllie Avishai, Vickie Fung,
Teri Lim and 
Jennifer Ziegler


Design & Layout

Nacor Villavicencio


2013 Arthritis Foundation, 
Pacific Region. All rights reserved.



2014 JaConfAd  


Mark your calendars to attend the 2014 JA Conference in Keystone, Colo., July 3-6, 2014!   

Dinsey Pic 4
Super Hero Thursday
Fun Night at Disneyland
The Young Adult group started our night with a flash mob!

Super Hero Thursday
1,250 super heroes celebrated opening night
of the JA Conference.

Conference Buzz
Have you ever seen so many adults and children smile?

For more 2013 JA Conference pictures visit the JA Conference Facebook page.

JA Conference QuotesAsk The Doc
JA Quotes 2
Quotes from #KidsGetArthritisToo


"You are our heroes for making this a reality... With this conference my son's eyes are opened wide to the fact that there are so many others that are like him.   We will walk away from here with hope."

-Dalaiah Wright


"It's so great to see how far everything has come since I was diagnosed with JA 20 years ago."

-Stephanie Shapiro


"Rooms full of kids showing that although they have arthritis, it doesn't have them. Fun and smiles at every corner."

-David Thomas


 "Arthritis advocacy - Getting it done and getting results in DC! But we're not done yet. Keep up the hard work!"

-Jaime Lyn Moy


 "Autopia! Thanks for a fun evening at Disneyland! We love the sea of blue shirts!"

-Stephanie Greiner


"FLASHMOB happened in Downtown Disney!"



"Jeffrey Gottfurcht comments at closing session of JA Conference: 'What you habitually think greatly determines what you will become!'  'Be a practical dreamer.  Overcome your own Mt. Everest.'"

-David Thomas and JIA Mom


"Sign of a fabulous JA Conference experience - Kate says 'I won't leave and you can't make me!'"

-Brook Wingate


"Already missing my 'Faces of Arthritis' family. The memories made here are lasting ones. Thank you!"

-Amanda Vizier 



Childrens Hospital, Los Angeles

JA Conference Medical Committee Chair


JA Conference Highlights salutes Dr. Anusha Ramanathan, Medical Committee Chair, for her dedication to children with JA and her many contributions to the success of this year's JA Conference. 


Why did you choose to become a pediatric rheumatologist? 


 I knew entering medical school that I wanted to be a pediatrician. After doing some rotations, I realized how much I enjoyed rheumatology. Rheumatology is a rapidly advancing field of medicine, unlike most other medical specialties. A lot of the newer medications have taken pediatric rheumatology from a field focused on rehabilitation to one focused on finding cures.


What appeals to you most about being a pediatric rheumatologist?


I enjoy most the continuity of care and the relationships I can form with the patients and families I treat, along with the satisfaction that comes with being able to recognize a new diagnosis and start someone on the road to recovery with the right treatment.  I look forward to being a continued part of the process to find new therapies that enable our patients to lead long, full lives with no limitations.  



Why is the JA Conference important to families of children with JA? 


I became involved in the JA Conference because it raises awareness about children living with rheumatic disease.  The Conference connects families dealing with juvenile arthritis with each other and with the numerous resources available to them.  It is an excellent way to empower patients and families with the knowledge and answers needed to deal with their conditions.