Submitted by Kari Johnson Cupp

Raegan Cupp is 4 years old and resides in Mount Holly, North Carolina with her parents Paul and Kari Johnson Cupp and her younger sister Avery. Kari is a former resident of Calhoun County, West Virginia and graduated from Calhoun County High School in 1992. Paul was a former resident of Clarksburg, WV and graduated from Roosevelt-Wilson High School in 1987.

Raegan was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2005. What was originally considered to be a condition of "old age" now affects millions of people including children, teens and adults.

She began to first exhibit symptoms such as stiffness, fever, rash, and joint swelling shortly after receiving her 1 year immunizations, but was not diagnosed until nearly a year later after countless tests and doctor visits.

Raegan is currently under the care of a pediatric rheumatologist at UNC Chapel Hill Children's Hospital. She makes the 2 ½ hour trip to Chapel Hill approximately every 8 weeks. Sometimes sooner should any problems arise.

Raegan requires daily oral medication to keep her pain and inflammation under control. It has been quite a process to get to this point. The whole process has taken a toll on her small body and made her very prone to sickness. But what a difference her medication has made!

To be perfectly honest, Raegan is nothing short of amazing. She is smart, active and has made the decision that in no way will arthritis stop her from doing anything she wants to achieve. She is active in gymnastics, swimming and soccer and attends the Weekday Early Education Program at the First Baptist Church of Stanley, NC where she loves playing with her best friends Alyssa, Ally, Madi and Laci.

Raegan accepts every day as it is presented to her whether it be good or bad. It's all done with the best attitude and a 100% effort on her part.

We decided to do the Arthritis Walk as a family to raise awareness about the condition that can be so devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. Not only to the person affected but to the entire family. We have had to make changes in our lifestyle as a family to accommodate some of the struggles that Raegan has to face on a daily basis.

So here we are, in what seems to be a brand new life each and everyday….depending on what obstacles come our way. We hope that other people both affected an unaffected will join us in the support of a cause that is so very important to our family.

Raegan has been chosen as the "JRA HERO" for the Arthritis foundation-Carolinas Chapter. Her story will be on the website, all mailings, TV ads and she will be honored at the Arthritis Walk on Sept 27th, 2008 in Concord, NC. A team has been established "RAEGAN's REBELS" to walk the 3 mile journey in honor of Raegan's everyday struggle.

We are currently recruiting sponsors and walkers for this special day. If you would like more information on arthritis, the arthritis foundation, or the Arthritis Walk for a Cure please check out the following link concordarthritiswalk

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