By Carissa Herb
Eastvale – As a child, the last thing on your mind are the troubles that will follow you as you start to age. For young Carter Forsyth – who is one of 50,000 U.S. children suffering from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – this is a problem that he is facing daily. However, Carter, 4, is making a difference with the help of his grandfather, Jerry Davis, and other sympathetic family members.
JIA is an autoimmune, inflammatory joint disease that presents with varying degrees of pain, swelling, stiffness, lethargy and a reduction or loss of mobility. Growth retardation is common in children with JIA, and this symptom is often exacerbated with medications typically used to treat the disease. Muscle weakness or loss, and osteoporosis are also possible conditions associated with JIA.
Earlier this year on Sept. 13, Carter’s grandfather – or as he likes to call him, Papa – participated in a 525 mile bike ride down California’s coast. During the 12 weeks of riding, Davis managed to raise $13,000 to be donated to the Arthritis Foundation. Davis has already begun to prepare for next year’s big ride, and plans on raising $40,000 – all of which will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation to further the search for a cure.
And yet the ride is about much more than the money. Davis reflected on his experience training for the ride and touches on a moment that struck home for him.
On an extraneous day of riding, Davis mentioned that he was tempted to discontinue his participation in the ride, until he saw his son, J.T.’s, initials on the side of an old barn. J.T. was Davis’ son who had passed away recently, and the initials gave him the strength to continue on for both J.T. and Carter.
Presently Carter has started a new medication, and it seems to be helping with the pain and the progression of the arthritis. He also spends his Friday mornings having breakfast with his Papa.
Carter has to have his usual pancakes with eggs and hash browns. He brags about his favorite restaurant on Mars called the Space Rover. He promises that the next time he goes to Mars he will bring his grandfather with him so that they can hang out.
Carter’s family has continued to raise money to donate to the Foundation. Most recently, one of his cousins asked for donations to the Foundation instead of presents for her birthday.
To learn more about Team Carter and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, check out their Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/525miles4carter.