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news News Friday, December 29, 2017 Friday, December 29, 2017 10:12 AM - Friday, December 29, 2017 10:12 AM



Shelby is full of life. She can often be found swinging on the playground, chasing after her sisters in the yard or filling a room with her infectious laughter. To interact with her now, it is difficult to imagine that she was not always a bubbly, energetic little girl, free to run and play.

“A few years ago, my daughter was hurting and missing out on her childhood,” describes Alyssa, 5-year-old Shelby’s mom. “Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville gave it back to her.”

When Shelby was brought to the Greenville Shriners Hospital at age 2, doctors diagnosed her with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), a painful inflammatory disease of the joints. While JIA is the most common type of arthritis in children, the symptoms and signs are often different and can vary case by case with each child.

For Shelby, the signs appeared in the form of her inability to straighten joints, pain in her legs and limited mobility.

“When we came to the Greenville Shriners Hospital, Shelby could barely walk. She could only move a few feet at a time and couldn't straighten her legs,” Alyssa explains.

Although there is no cure for JIA, an aggressive treatment plan can help with controlling the pain and inflammation. For Shelby, physicians chose injections to help quiet the active arthritis in her knee joints, as well as ankle/foot braces for support. Weekly physical therapy sessions also added to her treatment plan, helping to completely restore her mobility.

For Shelby and her family, the specialized care she received at the hospital not only meant more manageable symptoms and less pain, it also meant that she was given back the wonder of childhood.

“To me, Shriners Hospitals for Children means a little girl who can walk through the grass and pick flowers,” says Alyssa. “It means a little girl who can climb stairs and run after her sisters; it's dancing, jumping and chasing fireflies. It’s even the ability to climb on the kitchen counter to sneak cookies when mommy isn't looking. Those are all things Shelby could not do before she came to Greenville Shriners Hospital. The hospital took away my child's pain and gave her back her ability to walk. Those are priceless things and it means so, so much to our family.”