TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's that time of year...for you to get outside and walk for a good cause. This Saturday, one East Texas girl hopes her story will encourage others to help find a cure for arthritis. The disease affects more than 3.7 million people in Texas and nearly 300,000 children.
Seven-year-old Kaitlin Norris of Tyler and her mother Amy took a walk in the park this afternoon. It is something, Amy says was not always possible.
"Kaitlin got sick with a childhood illness and she didn't get better," said Amy. "She started having high fevers and a rash, and we took her to the doctors in Tyler and they quickly diagnosed us."
Kaitlin has Systemic Onset Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is a disease that could affect her, the rest of her life.
"We don't know," said Amy. "We think there is about a 50 percent chance of remission and if that happens, we can take her off the medicine and if that doesn't happen, we are not exactly sure, and no one really is."
That medicine is a shot Kaitlin has to take everyday. It is the main reason Kaitlin and physicians say they hope there will one day be a cure.
"It would mean a lot to me because I have to take a shot and it really hurts," said Kaitlin.
"A lot of research has been done, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions as far as what causes the disease and finding treatments to improve their quality of life," said Toby Cason, a Texas Arthritis Physician Assistant.
Saturday morning, Kaitlin will walk with her friends and family.
"The name of my team is called Kaitlin's Walkabouts," she said. "My dad made it up."
and she hopes you will too. So, these walks in the park never go away.
Doctors say people usually develop rheumatoid arthritis in their teenage years, but never know it. If you have joint pains, doctors recommend seeing a doctor. If you'd like to participate in the East Texas Arthritis Walk, registration starts at 9 a.m. This Saturday at the Rose Rudman Trail in Tyler. The walk starts at 10.