Caitlin Knight

is serving as the youth chair of the fifth annual South Jersey Arthritis Walk.

Caitlin, 9, has arthritis. She is among an estimated 300,000 children nationwide and 11,000 in New Jersey who have the disease. Although the disease can be treated and does go into remission, there is no cure.

Caitlin lives in Voorhees with her mother, Judy; her father, Dan; and her 17-year-old brother, Michael. Caitlin is a third-grader at Signal Hill School.

Her mother said Caitlin was diagnosed with arthritis when she was 4 after she had been ill with a virus. Since then, she has undergone a "whole gamut of treatment." Included in Caitlin's current treatments is a visit every four weeks to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where the biologic agent Remecaid is administered intraveneously to relieve the symptoms.

The arthritis walk, on a 3.6- or 1-mile course, will be held next Sunday at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. The event benefits the Arthritis Foundation.

Caitlin and her mother discussed the Arthritis Walk.

Question: Whose idea was it to get involved in the walk?

Judy Knight: Mostly her. When we go to CHOP for day medication, there are so many kids there much worse off than her. She felt we should get involved.

Q: Why did you get involved?

Caitlin Knight: I wanted to get involved so I could help everybody, so they won't feel as much pain as I did.

Q: Are you limited in what you can do by the arthritis?

Caitlin: It doesn't really stop me from anything. I'm on the swim team, I play tennis, golf. I do yoga. Yoga has helped me be more flexible. I also like to ride my bike around.

Q: What do you do as youth chair?

Caitlin: I have a speech that I say. I go to a lot of meetings.

Q: What kind of meetings?

Caitlin: Meetings where they talk about arthritis. It's mostly grownups. I tell them what I do, when I got it.

Q: How long have you been involved with the Arthritis Walk?

Caitlin: This is my second year.

Q: Why is it important?

Caitlin: It's important that other kids know about it. That it doesn't stop, but that you don't have to be afraid. Even though it's painful, you can manage.

Judy: We want to make people aware of this. That kids get arthritis too.

Information

What: South Jersey Arthritis Walk.

When: Next Sunday. Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the walk is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Where: Cooper River Park, Pennsauken.

Register: www.arthritis.org or call the South Jersey office of the New Jersey Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation at 856-616-8000.

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