Braelyn & Layden's Story

Braelyn and Layden have both been diagnosed with a form of Juvenile Arthritis (JA). JA is the most common form of arthritis in children and adolescents. It is an autoimmune disorder that differs significantly from arthritis commonly seen in adults (e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), and other types of arthritis that can present in childhood which are chronic conditions (e.g. psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis).

Layden was diagnosed in 2011 about three years after his sister’s diagnosis of Myositis in 2008. With his sister’s diagnosis, doctors knew the possibility of Layden having JA. He was just 7 years old and could now fully understand what his sister had been going through for the past few years.

Braelyn was about 18 months old when she was diagnosed with Myositis. Parents, Shane and Carie, noticed she was having trouble walking. After numerous tests, X-Rays and MRI’s, she was finally diagnosed. Myositis is inflammation of the muscles caused by autoimmune conditions. Braelyn gets tired easily, so she has to limit her activity. However, since she was diagnosed at such an early age, she hasn’t known anything else.

“We are constantly reminded that our kids are in pain. Arthritis is still new to Layden and Braelyn hasn’t known anything else, but they still take life head on,” said Carie.

Layden enjoys bike riding and flag football, while Braelyn enjoys drawing and hanging out with her big brother. Their family has continued to be supportive to both of them, but they are by far each other’s biggest support system. Having a sibling that can relate to what they go through each day is a wonderful gift after such a devastating diagnosis.

The strength, bravery and determination displayed by Braelyn and Layden made the Arthritis Foundation proud to honor them both as Nebraska 2013 Arthritis Walk Honorees.