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Local Teen Raises Money for Juvenile Arthritis
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on May 07, 2013 @ 6:48PM
Created on May 07, 2013 @ 5:12PM


Rylee Laya may seem like you're average 13-year-old running around in gym class and socializing with friends. But this is her on a good day. Rylee deals with something that most kids her age don't: juvenile arthritis.


"My fingers are stiff, so it's really hard to just do my hair, brush my teeth, and then during school it sometimes gets hard to walk up the stairs," said Rylee Laya, suffers from psoriatic arthritis.


Rylee's problems started when she was 11. She says one day she woke up and her left wrist was swollen and in pain. About a year later, she was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. It's a type of juvenile arthritis that affects her immune system and her joints. After seeing a couple of doctors and taking several different medicines, Rylee finally found one that's starting to work.


"I'm taking it day-by-day really to see how I feel, because it does change how I feel every single day. One day I may feel horrible with all my joints hurting, and the next day I'll be fine, I'll be running around and playing with my friends," said Laya.


Enbrel is a shot that Rylee takes once a week, four times a month. One month of the drug costs $2,500. She's been trying to raise same amount of money for the National Arthritis Foundation to symbolize what a child's family has to pay. So far, she's raised a little over $700.


"It's been two months for me to collect that amount, so I just [can't] image what other kid's families are doing to get this money," said Laya.


Rylee says she hopes that by raising this money, it will bring more awareness to juvenile arthritis and help find a cure.


"I want a cure because I want to be able to go out and play with my friends more and I don't want to be kept inside the house Saturday nights and Sunday mornings because of my shots. I want to be able to run because I do love to run. I run cross country and I run track," explains Laya.


Rylee is trying to reach her goal of $2,500 by this June, which is when the Arthritis Walk will be held in Pittsburgh. If you'd like to help her, visit her donation page.

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