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Junior uses athletics for relief from arthritis

Emmalee Dykstra, Staff Writer

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Junior Krissy VanGelderen, a cheerleader and a powerlifter, suffers from juvenile idiopathic arthritis and is on the spectrum for lupus.

She was diagnosed for both when she was about 10, but she started showing symptoms at 8.
Because of this, she has regular checkups every 3-6 months.

“At times, it gets really hard to know that I will have to live with this forever, but I know it is my life, and I have to deal with it,” VanGelderen said.

School, she said, is more of a challenge for her personally, though.

“School is one thing that is extremely hard for me because I don’t come a lot, and teachers don’t understand why,” VanGelderen said. “Sometimes, the pain from both diseases gets to the point where it hurts to write notes.”

Sports are one thing that becomes difficult with both of her illnesses, but VanGelderen said they actually help her more than anything.

“Sports make it better,” she said. “They stop the degeneration, but it hurts my joints because of the impact, and it hurts my organs because they are overworked.”

If there was one thing she wanted all of her friends and family to know, it would be that she has a reason for the times she misses out on certain things.

“People don’t understand why I’m always ditching them, but they don’t know that sometimes it just hurts too much to even walk or do anything,” VanGelderen said. “It’s nothing that they do; it just can be too much for me sometimes.”

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