More than 52 million people in the U.S. battle arthritis, and at Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers, there's one very special arthritis fighter. Her name is Ila, and she's six years old.
The daughter of Commonwealth nurse practitioner Sarah Bills McElfresh, Ila was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis as a toddler.
McElfresh has treated many patients who deal with arthritis and knows firsthand how the disease limits mobility and causes pain.
Facing Ila's difficult diagnosis, McElfresh reached out to the Arthritis Foundation's Cincinnati office, where she encountered Executive Director Barb Precht, who is the parent of a son diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. "I heard Barb tell her story, and it touched me. I really felt inspired and realized a weight had been taken off my shoulders by knowing that other parents and children go through the same things we were experiencing," McElfresh says.
In 2015, Ila was named an official Youth Honoree for the Arthritis Foundation's Walk to Cure Arthritis, held in May, as well as its Jingle Bell Run 5K, held each December. "The honorees help serve as a face for arthritis. To look at my daughter, you would never know she has arthritis. Having Ila as an honoree was an opportunity to raise awareness about arthritis and to understand that even this beautiful little child can have this disease," McElfresh says.
You can learn more about Sarah Bills McElfresh by visiting THIS LINK.