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 HeadlinesBlast 825° Pizza in Roseville OpensBlast 825 in Roseville at 1132 Galleria Blvd, Suite 100 celebrates the opening of its newest location.
Sampler Concert in Rocklin at Sierra CollegeThe Sierra College Music Department is proud to present a Sampler Concert on Sunday, September 28th at 3:00pm in Dietrich Theatre on the Sierra College Rocklin Campus
William Jessup University to Host Worship ConferenceROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University will host the fifth annual Worship Conference on Saturday, September 27 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
New Protections for Animal Control OfficersAssemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Roseville)announced that Governor Brown has signed her legislation (Assembly Bill 1511) to provide greater protections for animal control officers in California
California Statewide Fire Summary (9.23.14)California Fire Update: This morning over 8,100 firefighters continue to battle 5 major wildfires burning in California. Yesterday afternoon firefighters fully contained the Nelson Fire
California Fires Summary: King Fire Rages OnCalifornia Fire Update: This morning nearly 6,500 firefighters continue to battle 6 major wildfires burning in California
California Fires May Close Placer County SchoolsCalifornia Fire Update: Placer County public health officials said Monday that a smoke-related Air Quality Advisory remains in effect, emphasizing that they are working closely with school officials on whether to close schools
Gas Prices Continue Downward TrendAverage retail gasoline prices in Sacramento have fallen 2.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.66/g yesterday
California Statewide Fire Summary: King Fire 10 Percent Contained California Fire Update: Today 6,700 CAL FIRE, local and federal firefighters remain on the frontlines of 6 major wildfires across California.
Subaru BRZ: An Old-School Sports CarThe 2015 Subaru BRZ, a sports car smartly designed for driving enthusiasts who want to own a light, agile car that can provide that elusive fun factor while also looking cool.
California Statewide Fire Summary: King Fire over 80,000 Acres California Fire Update: Firefighters are concerned on the King Fire that this may shift the direction of the fire pushing it back to the South
PCWA Board Declares King Fire EmergencyCalifornia Fire Update: Auburn, CA- Critically important power generation, residential, maintenance, and storage facilities of the Placer County Water Agency