Pendaar Pooyan was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in elementary school. He learned to ask for what he needed: use of a computer in class because of wrist pain and a locker that didn’t require him to bend down so far. And he learned to talk about his disease. This helped make participating for the first time in the ACR’s Advocates for Arthritis fly-in last year a natural fit for the teen, now a high school junior.
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Mr. Pooyan will join roughly 100 other rheumatology patients, providers and administrators from around the country in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23–25, 2018, for the annual fall event, which brings them together with their legislators and their staff to advocate on behalf of rheumatology.
“I have never shied away from telling teachers, students and administrators that I have JIA, and I have never stigmatized it,” says Mr. Pooyan. “I tackle it head on, and I think that’s one thing that has helped me in advocating for kids with JIA.”