Los Altos native and University of San Francisco sophomore Katie Taves is scheduled to be honored Saturday morning at the Walk to Cure Arthritis in San Francisco.
Taves was diagnosed at age 9 with a rare form of arthritis – polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis – according to a press release from the Arthritis Foundation. She was forced to drop Advanced Placement classes in high school due to her condition and was unable to attend school her sophomore year but graduated from Mountain View High in May 2017, the release said. Taves is a communications major at USF and the fundraising director for her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta.
“Life fluctuates a lot when you have arthritis,” Taves wrote on her Walk to Cure Arthritis participant page. “I missed a little under three years of high school and a lot of elementary school as well. But like anything, time leads to normalization. Time and a lot of treatment and therapy. I have gone from being fearful and confused to living the best life that I can.”
Polyarticular JIA causes inflammation in five or more joints and accounts for 25 percent of children diagnosed with JIA, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Taves has arthritis in 27 joints, the release stated. Nearly 300,000 children in the country have some form of arthritis, with JIA being the most common type among children.
“For 70 years, the Arthritis Foundation has taken the steps to conquer this disease, and Walk to Cure Arthritis is the largest arthritis event in the world, where we celebrate arthritis warriors and raise funds for research, resources and a cure,” said Loren Behr, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation of Northern California in San Francisco, in the release.
Taves has attended the Arthritis Foundation’s Camp Milagros for youth and Teen Retreat. She is now a junior counselor at Camp Milagros and a volunteer at Teen Retreat. She credits the “awesome” programs, which are for kids and teens with arthritis, as “part of the reason I live a sort of normal life,” on her participant page.
“The Walk to Cure Arthritis is important because it gives other kids a chance to attend camp, and learn that they are not alone,” Taves said in the release.
The Walk to Cure Arthritis is set for 10 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m. in the Presidio at the Sports Basement, 610 Old Mason St. Proceeds fund the Arthritis Foundation of Northern California’s Camp Milagros, Teen Retreat and other programs.
To register and for more information, visit walktocurearthritis.org/sanfrancisco.
Ilena Peng contributed to this report.