West Michigan Child Lives With Arthritis at Age Two

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NORTON SHORES, Mich., (April 2, 2014)–A West Michigan mom is now on a mission to raise awareness about the most common cause of disability in the U.S, arthritis.

At just 2-years-old Jeanne Proefrock’s daughter Mackenzie was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis and this year is the ‘ 2014 Grand Rapids Walk To Cure Arthritis’ honoree.

“I was very scared I didn’t know children could get this. I’m one of those hundreds of people that says this is an old persons disease, it’s not something little ones get,” said Proefrock.

Mackenzie’s story began in the summer of 2012 when she started to have pain in her left hand and eventually developed a lump on the back of it.

After it didn’t get better for some time, Jeanne took her to the doctors multiple times until she was finally diagnosed in November.

“She lost function not only in her left hand but she was no longer holding things. When she was at her worst, if other children were playing she would get in a chair and hide, afraid of being hurt.”medium coloring

At this point Mackenzie’s arthritis is now suppressed by medication and she’s getting back to being her normal three year old self, doing things she couldn’t before.

It’s one reason why Jeanne says it’s so important to her to share her daughters story.

“Someone else going through what we were and that whole uncertainty in the beginning. Maybe they can have an idea of where to go and questions to ask because we didn’t know, we saw her pain and just wanted to fix it.”

The ‘2014 Grand Rapids Walk To Cure Arthritis’ will be held on May 3, for more information: http://www.walktocurearthritis.org


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  • Casandra Weller

    I was actually diagnosed at age 2 with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as well. That was back in 1981. Thanks to a great family, great doctors, and medications that have worked for me I am an active, married, mother of two. I can speak from experience that the disease is a rough journey but it will be ok.

  • Todd

    I had rheumatoid arthritis but found out i was celiac, when I started eating no red meats, and no breads, pastas (GLUTEN), because i got sick alot, mysteriously the arthritis went away. I tested negative for gluten allergy but every time i eat it now, I get flare ups. Try the wheat free gluten free white meat, veggie diet.

  • Todd

    I'm red head, and far as I have seen red heads, and irish, seem to be sensitive more to gluten too. Sounds strange, but everyone I have met in the meetings i go to for celiac, are alot of red heads! crazy.

  • chiefsfan37

    Do any juvenile arthritis sufferers use prescription strength topical gels to relief their pain? If so, could you please tell me more about them. I'm curious…

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