Abby’s Army’s mission is to improve the lives of children diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and assist their families with the financial challenges associated with managing the disease.
Having a child diagnosed with juvenile arthritis can feel isolating and overwhelming. Treatment includes expensive medications. Many of the medications cost thousands of dollars a year even after insurance. The financial burden of the disease is made even greater by work missed due to appointments, flares, and illnesses caused by the medications that work by suppressing the immune system. Many families have to travel to another state to reach the closest pediatric rheumatologist, requiring more missed work and travel expenses.
Abby’s Army provides financial assistance to families of children with juvenile arthritis receiving care at area pediatric rheumatology centers in order to ease the financial burden of the disease. We also fund programs that ensure children with arthritis and their families have the tools and support they need to navigate treatment and connect with other families.
We founded Abby’s Army in 2017 to improve the lives of children diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and assist their families with the financial challenges associated with managing the chronic, life-long disease.
When Abby developed juvenile arthritis (JA)at 20 months old, we didn’t know that kids could get arthritis. In fact, we were relieved that it was “only arthritis." And then we did our research. 300,000 children in the US have JA. That’s more cystic fibrosis, juvenile diabetes, and leukemia combined. It’s the #1 cause of acquired disability. Yet most people, including many doctors, do not know that kids can get arthritis or what the symptoms are. Due to this lack of awareness, there is very little support for the juvenile arthritis community.
Soon after Abby’s diagnosis in 2011, we formed Abby’s Army as a walk team to raise money for arthritis. As we spent more time in the JA community, we saw how many were struggling with the costs of living with this disease and wanted to do more to help. In 2017, Abby’s Army was converted into a non-profit to more directly assist JA families.