Farmingdale, NJ - The Arthritis Foundation, NJ Chapter has named Lacie Perez of Freehold, NJ Youth Chair of the 2010 Monmouth/Ocean County Arthritis Walk to be held in Allaire State Park on May 2nd. As Youth Chair, Perez gets the opportunity to speak out about life with arthritis and serve as a leader along with many other volunteers who are eager make a difference in the lives of people living with arthritis.

The Arthritis Walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s annual signature event that takes place in communities nationwide to raise funds and awareness to fight arthritis, a leading cause of disability in the United States. This spring, Arthritis Walk events will kick off in more than 400 communities across the United States.

Eight-year-old Lacie was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was two years old. She has struggled with pain in over forty joints in her body.  Lacie’s mother, Diane, was aware of the effects of arthritis on children, but was still shocked when she found out that her daughter had the disease.  “I knew children could get arthritis, but Lacie has it in so many places in her body.   The worst part is the medication and the side effects.  She has used every type of medication and I am most fearful of the long term effects it can have on her body and development.”

Although she has to deal with her disease daily, Lacie continues to lead her life as a normal kid.  She enjoys playing outside during the summer and roller skating.  “If I could give advice to someone who just found out they had arthritis I would tell them to just work through it.”

Diane says that Lacie’s major goal as Youth Chair is, “To get the word out that arthritis effects kids just as much as it does adults.  A person can be diagnosed at any age.”   Diane’s main advice to other mothers is, “To take each day as it comes because each day will be different than the day before. The best thing for me, and any mother, would be to give our kids the best possible opportunity to have a normal childhood. ”

The Arthritis Walk is a community event in its truest sense.   Teams from schools, churches, local businesses, civic groups, and neighborhoods come together to show support for those who battle this disease. Teams are forming now for the Arthritis Walk on Sunday, May 2nd, at Forrestal Allaire State Park in Howell. To register a team or volunteer, contact the Arthritis Foundation at 732 283 4300 or register online at www.arthritis.org, keyword: New Jersey.

About the Arthritis Foundation

The Arthritis Foundation is the only nationwide, nonprofit health organization helping people take greater control of arthritis by leading efforts to prevent, control, and cure arthritis and related diseases -- one of the nation’s leading causes of disability.