January 2014
January 2014

Dad with Daughter 2  

Welcome to the first issue of the Pacific Region JA Newsletter designed for kids and families affected by juvenile arthritis and related rheumatic diseases as well as JA community supporters. 


Our newsletter goals are to:

  • Keep you informed on local Arthritis Foundation programs and events.
  • Share highlights from past programs.
  • Give local JA heroes opportunities to share their stories; and
  • Spotlight the JA Communities in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada (a.k.a. the Pacific Region!)


Dreaming Big 

2013 JA Highlights


Every year the Arthritis Foundation looks forward to planning juvenile arthritis programs that will take place throughout the Pacific Region. In addition to hosting our SIX SUMMER CAMPS (at least one in every Pacific Region state this year), we also host JA Symposiums, Family Fun Days, and Family Weekend Camps. We are also lucky to partner with other nonprofits to host family support sessions like "Families Living with Rheumatic Diseases" and programs through CoachArt! One of the Arthritis Foundation's biggest partners, The Painted Turtle, is highlighted below. This past year, we implemented an awesome welcome backpack kit called S.A.K. - Supporting Arthritis Kids. The S.A.K. program is especially designed for families with children who are newly diagnosed with a rheumatic disease or families that are new to the Arthritis Foundation. The backpack is filled with educational materials and fun activities for the family. So far, we have been able to serve nearly 1,000 new families.


In 2013, the Pacific Region certainly dreamt big by hosting the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference on July 18-21 in Anaheim, CA. The conference took place during National Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month and brought together nearly 1,500 participants! The JA Conference Planning Committee, consisting of over 30 of the best volunteers ever and staff, chose "Dream, Believe, Achieve!" as the theme for the 29th annual conference.  All participants benefitted from a weekend of learning, exploring, and meeting others from across the nation (and New Zealand) who share similar experiences in dealing with juvenile arthritis.


Partner Highlight

The Painted Turtle


The Painted Turtle, a member of Paul Newman's SeriousFun Children's Network, is a camp designed especially for children and teens with serious, chronic medical conditions.  The Arthritis Foundation has partnered with The Painted Turtle since 2005 for the Southern California Family Weekend Camps. In 2009, Camp Esperanza - established in 1986 and the first camp just for kids with arthritis - moved to The Painted Turtle location in Lake Hughes, CA. This move enabled the Arthritis Foundation to serve 3 times more campers than before in one session!  This year The Painted Turtle celebrates its 10th Anniversary!


Quote from The Painted Turtle:


"Every year The Painted Turtle looks forward to partnering with the Arthritis Foundation for our camp sessions. Whether at our annual summer camp session or at family weekends, the kids and families, as well as the entire Arthritis Foundation, bring wonderful energy and community to camp. The sessions are always some of the most remarkable of the year! We are extremely grateful to the Arthritis Foundation for partnering with us to make a lasting difference in the lives of these incredible kids."


-Blake Maher, CEO, The Painted Turtle 

Painted Turtle Collage No Words  




March 2

GlitzGlamGive Gala 

Phoenix, AZ


March 24-26

Advocacy Summit 

Washington, D.C.



April 30 - May 1

CAFC Summit

California State Advocacy Day

Sacramento, CA



July 3-6

National Juvenile Arthritis Conference

Keystone, Colorado


FALL 2014

Living Well with Arthritis - 

A Young Adult Symposium

Location TBD




March 26-28

Spring Family Camp

The Painted Turtle

Lake Hughes,CA 



Date TBD





June 3-8

Camp Cruz




July 6-11

Joint Adventure Camp

San Diego


July 9-14

Camp Esperanza

The Painted Turtle

Lake Hughes,CA  



Date TBD

Camp Sol



Date TBD

 Camp Mana'olana




September 12-14

Camp Esperanza

Teen Leadership

 Southern California



October 24-26

Fall Family Camp

The Painted Turtle


October 17-19

Camp ILA





April 26

Santa Barbara




May 3




May 18

San Luis Obispo



May 31

Los Angeles




June 1

Orange County & Inland Empire










June 7

San Diego


JA Resources Blue


Kids Get Arthritis Too 

AF Pacific Region 

AF Youth Programs 


Social Media

JA Conference Facebook 

AF Pacific Region Facebook 

AF Pacific Region Twitter 


JA Program Contacts

Allie Avishai: Arizona and Nevada



Jennifer Ziegler: California and Hawaii



Alllie Avishai, Vickie Fung,

Teri Lim and Jennifer Ziegler


Design & Layout:

Nacor Villavicencio

2014 Arthritis Foundation,

Pacific Region. All rights reserved.

KGAT picture
Super Hero Thursday
Start Finish Line at Arthritis Walk
New KGAT website!
Advocacy: Kid's Summit
Walk to Cure Arthritis
Child's SpotlightAsk the Doc
Jonny Cortel
Dr. Wershba
My Name is Jonny Corthell and I am 15 years old. I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 4 years old. I am involved because the Arthritis Foundation provides the support and research I need for JRA. I appreciate The Arthritis Foundation for the kindness and understanding that they have shown me and my family since I was diagnosed.


My favorite thing about the Arthritis Foundation is that they send me places. Every summer I get away from my family and spend a week at an awesome camp for kids who have been diagnosed with rheumatic diseases. Last February they sent me to Washington D.C. to speak with members of Congress as an Arthritis Foundation Ambassador. My family and I were also lucky enough to get to go to the JA Conference in St. Louis last summer.


I have been volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation for ten years now, and I will continue for many more. The Arthritis Foundation has been a blessing!








Pediatric Rheumatologist

Children's Hospital; Phoenix, AZ



Why did you choose to become a pediatric rheumatologist? 



The Pediatric part is a given...I love children. The Rheumatology aspect is not as transparent and many people ask, "What does a rheumatologist do? " My answer is that we take care of children with autoimmune illnesses such as JIA, Lupus, Dermatomyositis, Scleroderma and Vasculitis in addition to other illnesses affecting the musculoskeletal system. It is rare that rheumatologists see patients with straight forward diagnoses, and that is what makes our job so rewarding and mentally stimulating. Since the diseases we diagnose and treat can affect any organ, I need to stay up-to-date with general pediatric knowledge. Collaboration with all pediatric specialties is also essential to successful patient management. Additionally, the immune system is intriguing. Advances in treatment of autoimmune illnesses are being made on a daily basis.Yet, there is so much more exciting new information to learn that will hopefully improve the lives of patients with autoimmune illnesses. Being a part of this process is exhilarating! The opportunity to improve a child's quality of life by identifying rare illnesses and working with families to find effective treatments is such a rewarding experience.