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Published on Nov 28, 2012
At the age of two, Emily Smith was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, and she describes the decade that followed as a "roller coaster" in which her arthritis waxed and waned, and her parents and doctors experimented with different dosages of the standard drugs available. Shortly before her eleventh birthday, however, Smith started taking one of the then-new biologic treatments, and everything changed, dramatically. After an early childhood spent going "days, and sometimes months, nearly immobile from pain and inflammation," in high school she was pole vaulting on the track team. She says, "I have been lucky enough to see kids with RA [rheumatoid arthritis] completely avoid the misery that I went through. I am able to live my life to the fullest."