Medical Minute: Hope for Childhood Arthritis

She hops, sings and dances like other three-year-olds, But last year little Avril spent her days in bed at the hospital.

It started with a fever and rashes that wouldn't go away and pain that spread to every part of her body.

Avril Sutherland-Wagner, Avril’s grandmother, says, “She would complain her neck hurt, her fingers hurt, her knees hurt, and they kept saying it was symptoms of the flu.”

But Avril's widowed grandmother and great aunt knew it wasn't the flu.

“She had almost quit eating because she had it in her jaw bones.”

Finally they found a doctor who knew what it was.

Pediatric rheumatologist Phillip Hashkes diagnosed Avril with systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, or JIA, and put her on the drug Kineret.

Dr. Philip Hashkes says, “It was literally a miracle drug. The day after she got this medicine all her other symptoms were gone.”

Every day nurses come to house to give Avril an injection of Kineret. It hurts, but it's worth it.

"She doesn't complain of any pains, of any aches. She laughs; she jokes, she marches, she dances, and that's what being a child is."

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