by Alexa Rosas|staff writer
Sophomore Emma Bjornson is being honored as the ‘Teen Hero’ at the arthritis walk on May 18, 2013. She plans on raising a total of $10,000 by May so that she can make a difference for those suffering from arthritis.
“Once I raise the money it will be used for research, to find a cure or for new treatment options, for support group and camps for children and adults with arthritis. It provides people to get to know other people with arthritis, so that really helps out people and families,” Bjornson said.
$10,000 in no small sum for a 15 year-old girl, so she is reaching out to her school, community and some other familiar names.
“I have been communicating with different companies. I’ve sent emails to Johnson and Mr. Melbrech, to companies like John Hart, and I think my mom sent one to One Direction,” Bjornson said, “We need whatever we can get. I have only raised 600 and something dollars so far, but I have until May and I am planning on raising much more than that.”
Bjornson carries a deep connection to this cause, for she has been living with arthritis for most of her life. Starting in her knees and ankles and now in her left hand, Bjornson has learned to adapt and has accepted the limitations of her condition.
“When I was younger I didn’t really affect me that much because I didn’t understand how serious of a disease it really was,” Bjornson said, “Now I know what I can and cannot do, so I stay within those limits and really try to do my best.”
Arthritis is no small matter. Bjornson has to go through a lot to fight through the symptoms of the condition, with joint injections, oral medications and weekly chemotherapy injections.
“The joint injections are the worst and can be done every six months. They put me under anesthesia and then I can’t do anything strenuous or too physical for about a week and I can’t walk around for about two days…with the chemo I get bad headaches and sometimes nauseous,” Bjornson said.
In spite of the pain, Bjornson, has found a silver lining; a deeper sympathy and understanding of those who may suffer in silence.
“Honestly, I think it probably helped me be a better person,” Bjornson said, “ I’m more aware of people and the problems that they have that you might not be able to see. Looking at me you probably wouldn’t have any idea, so it has given me an awareness.”
Because of her fight, Bjornson plans on making a difference in the lives of many who suffer and who often have too few options.
“This is actually more common than you would think. In this county alone there are so many kids with it, but there are only 6 doctors that specialize in this in the state of Texas. Thank goodness we moved to a state where there is one. In a lot of states they don’t even have a doctor for this,” Bjornson said.