Why the challenge?
300,000 children in the United States and two million children around the world have juvenile arthritis, but most people have never heard of it. Juvenile Arthritis (JA) is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints, soft and connective tissues, and organs; there is NO CURE. More kids have juvenile arthritis than have juvenile diabetes, sickle cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis. It is the numbe one cause of acquired disability in children, and the sixth most common childhood disease. Despite all of this, most people, including many doctors, do not know that kids can get arthritis or what the symptoms are. Learn about the early signs and symptoms on the Arthritis Foundation's Kids Get Arthritis, Too website.
Why the cape?
Our JA children are our heroes. Most kids with juvenile arthritis go in and out of active disease throughout their lives. Some kids never experience any period of remission and have never known a life without pain. It impacts social and after-school activities and makes schoolwork more difficult. Kids who have JA often try to hide their disease, can’t participate in the same activities as their friends, get made fun of for being different, and struggle just to get through the day. But, they do get through the day, and they work harder the next day. They smile through the pain and laugh through the challenges. They try to prove that they have arthritis, but arthritis doesn’t have them. They are superheroes, and they are #strongerthanja.
How does it work?
If someone has tagged you in the #JACapeChallenge, you are challenged to either wear a cape for 250 minutes (to represent the 1 in 250 children in the US with juvenile arthritis) or make a donation to an organization that funds research and programs for juvenile arthritis. If you wear the cape, post pictures of yourself wearing your cape during those 250 minutes (or four hours and ten minutes) with the tag #JACapeChallenge. If you don’t have a cape, you can make one out of a towel, pillow case, or small blanket. If you want to help spread even more awareness, you can include a juvenile arthritis fact with each post and/or pin our JA hero emblem to your cape. When you're done, challenge three people to do the same.