Kristen was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 2 years old. Despite the medications prescribed by her doctor, her arthritis kept progressing. By the time she was attending second grade, her wrists and ankles were so swollen, she could barely move them. Her mother, Tina, brought her from Davie to Nicklaus Children's (formerly Miami Children's) Rheumatology department.
There, Dr. Rafael Rivas-Chacón recommended a more aggressive approach to treat Kristen. She admitted to the hospital for five days, during which she receive large doses of medicine to reduce her inflammation.
"In just a few days, she was running all over the place," recalls Tina. "She could move much better. Since then, the Dr. has kept her illness under control."
Today, Kristen is 17 years old, she's attending high school and she's looking forward to college. She has participated in Camp Funrise, a special summer camp for children with juvenile arthritis. She's attended as a camper and as counselor. Her mother, Tina Dorries, serves as one of the camp's organizers and a member of the Arthritis Foundation.
"Dr. Rivas-Chacón and his team are an extension of our family," says Tina. "They help families connect and support each other."