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Artesia Co-hosts Zumba Fundraiser To Fight Arthritis


Zumba instructor Lettie Morris will lead a Zumba Fundraiser Feb. 4 from 11:00 am-12:30 pm at the Artesia Community Center in honor of Rowan Balma who was diagnosed with Juvenile Polyarticular Ideopathic Arthritis when she was two.   All proceeds will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation-Pacific Region.

Long-time Cerritos resident Tobi Balma says that her granddaughter Rowan, “is frequently in pain, but rarely complains unless it is severe. Unfortunately, since she has been in pain for so long, pain is ‘normal’ for her.”

Now eight, Rowan has had multiple types of treatment, including fluid drainage in both knees and ankles, MRIs, x-rays, physical therapy, numerous blood tests, steroid injections, and chemotherapy. She also wears orthotics in her shoes because of weak ankles.

Balma adds that “Rowan’s current medication, Enbrel, helps prevent Arthritis from ravaging her joints and bones, but also lowers her immune system. Thus she gets sick more frequently and more severely.  Unfortunately, Enbrel also might contribute to a higher risk of lymphoma in the future.”

Most people are not aware of how severe arthritis can be to young children, including the possibility of blindness.  Some children, as young as twelve, get hip replacements.

The Arthritis Foundation states, “Each day, 50 million men, women and children are in pain from arthritis, 300,000 children have juvenile arthritis, 140,000 people with arthritis will visit their doctor, and 3,750 joints will be replaced.

Arthritis will be the largest category of disability claims filed, and three people will die from the disease.”

“No child should have to live in chronic pain,” said Balma.

Unfortunately for Rowan and the other 300,000 children like her, chronic pain is their normal.

For information and/or tickets for the event, call (562) 865-8675.  Presale tickets are $15, or $20 at the door.  If unable to attend, you can still get a tax deduction by donating directly to this website:  http://www.walktocurearthritis.org/arizona/rowans_grandma.