JRA Not Holding Back Stolberg
According to the National Institutes of Health, JRA is a long-term (chronic) disease with early onset that results in joint pain and swelling. Sharon Stolberg acquired JRA at age 19 months. As a child, she went from walking in braces to using a cane and then crutches to using a wheelchair by age seven. At age 11, her disease flared-up to the point she couldn't attend school for a year. She nearly died. Within the next few years, she had three major operations, and would continue using a wheelchair until age 18.
"Having to use a wheelchair definitely isolated me," said Stolberg of her youth. "I was different and couldn't be as independent as most other people my age. I wasn't dating and couldn't do sleepovers because my friends' homes weren't accessible. That restricted me to doing things mostly with my friends with disabilities."
At 19, she made a decision to leave her wheelchair. She went on to earn an associate's degree in Florida, get married, and finish bachelor's and master's degrees in special education, with the latter at Lee University in 2011. Today, she teaches a special education class of nine children at an elementary school in Tennessee.
It's not that her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has improved to the point of allowing her to accomplish her dreams, but rather she has fought through the pain. She enjoys rock climbing, biking, hand cycling, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding.
She said, "Because of JRA, I'm only 4'6". I have severe limitations in the range of motion in my arms, which impairs me most, and I also have limitations in every joint in my body. The pain is there all the time and to be active I have to mentally block out the pain. The only good joints I have are the artificial ones, my two hips."
Sharon Stolberg is a board member of Sports & Recreation of Chattanooga, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, which is a national organization providing adaptive sports opportunities for people with disabilities. She wants to become a motivational speaker.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesBella Vista HS Wins Sacramento County Academic DecathlonSacramento, CA- Bella Vista High School, from the San Juan Unified School District, is the winner of the 2017 Sacramento County Academic Decathlon competition
Topgolf in Roseville to host WJU Fundraiser in AprilRoseville, CA - The Jessup Athletic Association will host the inaugural TopSwing event - a fun gathering, providing golf, games, food, beverages, prizes and awards - on Sunday, April 23
Roseville Bucks for Bikes Application DeadlineRoseville, CA- Apply for an opportunity to receive up to $200 toward a new commuter bike. Bucks for Bikes helps commuters
Mom Turns Caregiving Into CareerSo taken up by their moving story, I'm devoting the next two weeks to Joe and Tish Griffin, 21-year-old son and 60-year-old mother
PCWA affirms opposition to weaken Prop 218AUBURN, Calif. - At its February 16 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors expressed opposition to any legislative effort to weaken Proposition 218
Rocklin Music Artist Quinn Hedges New AlbumLocal Rocklin music artist Quinn Hedges will unveil his latest album in spectacular fashion. He and several collaborators created a dozen captivating videos
Roseville Gas Price Declines Coming to an End?Roseville, CA- Declining gas prices in Roseville may be coming to an end as experts continue to anticipate a rise in fuel prices nationwide heading into the warmer months
Bill would provide independent oversight of Mental Health ServicesROSEVILLE - This week Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) introduced a bill to assure that the $2 billion allocated each year from Proposition 63
Roseville to host Junior Singles ChampionshipsRoseville, CA - Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville is set to host annual Junior Singles Championships Feb. 18 - 20.
Kidney Transplants: UC Davis Leads NationSACRAMENTO, Calif.) - UC Davis physicians gave lifesaving kidney transplants to more than 400 people in 2016, making it the highest-volume kidney transplant program in the nation.
Kid-O-Rama Festival Returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Olympic Valley, Calif. - The 8th annual Kid-O-Rama extravaganza returns to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this President's Day weekend from February 18-25.
Dementia Support Group in Grass ValleyCascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a monthly support group for family and caregivers