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.
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
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 HeadlinesPolice Officer Killed: Gunned Down in Arden Way LotDeputy Danny Oliver, 47 a Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy was killed in the line of duty while investigating a suspicious occupied vehicle within a business parking
California Housing Market: 2015 ForecastRealtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about the recent housing forecast or 2015 released by the California Association or Realtors and where the market is currently.
3 Killed, Alcohol Suspected in Deadly Sacramento CrashOn October 23, 2014 at approximately 2:24 p.m., an unknown male driver was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe on Howe Ave north of Burney Way at an unknown speed.
Nissan Rogue Features Many Enviable ChangesIn effort to attract more male buyers, Nissan reportedly decided to alter the exterior look of the Rogue in its 2014 redesign. Not a bad move. Most men don't
New Nursing Village Ribbon Cutting in RocklinRocklin, CA- Sierra College welcomed their long-running Nursing Program back to the Rocklin campus with a recent Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
Placer County Woman Dies: West Nile Virus ConfirmedPlacer County health officials are able to confirm that an Ophir woman, who passed away earlier this month, did indeed have West Nile Virus (WNV).
3 Teens Arrested in Burglary and Vandalism of Country ClubA Placer County Sheriff's detective apprehended three juveniles Thursday in connection with recent burglaries and acts of vandalism at the Auburn Valley Country Club.
Roseville Author Releases New Book NationwideROSEVILLE, Calif. - The new book "Resonance," a stimulating new book by Roseville author Emily Elaine is now available nationwide.
Genderally Speaking LGBTQ Exhibition in RocklinRocklin, CA--The Ridley Gallery presents "Genderally Speaking", photography by Ron Williams in conjunction with Sierra College Pride Days (November 4-6).
Rocklin History Series Presents Julia Morgan's GoldThe Rocklin History Series continues on November 16, 2014 with a live presentation by Julia Morgan Historian Karen McNeill Ph.D. at 2 pm at the beautiful Old Saint Mary's Chapel
Free Identity Theft Prevention Class in AuburnThe Placer County Sheriff's Office is offering a free identity theft prevention class on Monday, October 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn Justice Center.
Loomis Students to Learn About Pediatric Iron Lung for World Polio DayIn recognition of World Polio Day, Rotary Club of Sunset Loomis will bring a pediatric iron lung to Loomis Grammar School and Loomis Basin Charter School