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 HeadlinesHomeless Resource Helpline Launched in PlacerAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County residents who are experiencing homelessness now have a new, centralized gateway to housing resources.
Kindergarten Registration in Eureka Union School DistrictRoseville, CA,- Registration for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten will begin February 6th in the Eureka Union School District.
2018 William Jessup Baseball Season PreviewRocklin, Calif. - The Warriors are set to take the field for the first time in their 2018 stint ahead with great expectations under new head coach Jake McKinley and a solid recruiting class
SACOG New Board Leadership for 2018Sacramento - City of Sacramento Councilmember Jay Schenirer and City of Rancho Cordova Councilmember David Sander elected.
Donut Dash Benefit Registration Underway(Sacramento, Calif.) - The tenth annual Donut Dash will take place Saturday, March 3, at 8:30 a.m. at William Land Park in Sacramento. Proceeds will benefit the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
BottleRock Napa Valley Lineup of Restaurants, Wineries, and Artisanal Craft Breweries & DistilleriesNAPA, CA, - Situated in the heart of America's wine and food playground, BottleRock Napa Valley, presented by JaM Cellars, has once again tapped into the region's renowned culinary talent
Thunder Valley Casino Hiring for Janitorial and HousekeepingLincoln, CA,- Thunder Valley Casino Resort is hiring for Janitorial and Housekeeping positions at a Job Fair on Wednesday,
School Strategies for Children with ADHD and ASD(Sacramento, Calif.) - On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the UC Davis MIND Institute and its Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will host "School strategies for children with ADHD and ASD
916 Dialing Changes are Coming SoonOn February 09, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an overlay that will add the new area code 279 to the 916 area code region
Tree Harvest Festival billed as Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest FestivalWoodland, CA- We are proud to present Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest Festival. We will celebrate the 420 holiday with Music, Art, and Education
Mitsubishi Outlander remains affordable SUVRoseville, CA,- Cost-conscious car shoppers should give the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander a look because it can be driven off the dealer lot for a very reasonable price.
Free Tax Assistance for Eligible ResidentsRocklin, CA- For the third year Placer County Health and Human Services will provide free tax assistance to low-income individuals and families, in cooperation with the IRS and United Way