Hello. My name is Jaden Auslander and I have juvenile arthritis, or JA. My JA affects every joint and most of the muscles in my body.
Living with chronic pain can be pretty scary sometimes, and this fear used to hold me back. When I was 9 years old, all of my friends were talking about their sleep-away camps at the start of the school year. I was the only one who wasn’t, and that’s because I didn’t go to sleep-away camp because I was afraid to go. I knew how to take care of myself, but I did not know how to answer adults’ or peers’ questions. I was afraid to give the wrong answer. I was afraid that someone would give me the wrong dose of medication or mess up my injection.
Then we moved to Charlotte, and my mom found a camp called Victory Junction. Victory Junction is a camp for kids with disabilities. When I learned more about it, my fear of going to camp turned into a fear of missing out! I went for the first time last year, and I realized that I didn’t have to know how to answer questions about my JA because the counselors and medical staff understood it. I didn’t have to explain it to other campers because they also have JA. I realized that there were kids younger than me that I could help by talking about my fears, and listening to theirs.
Now I understand that while living with JA can be scary, it can also push me to try new things and meet new people.
Jaden Auslander is a 7th grader at Cuthbertson Middle School, where he is on the robotics team. When he is not advocating for his fellow Juvenile Arthritis Warriors, he enjoys playing percussion and spending time with his family.