Megan’s Story

Megan was a normal, healthy baby until she experienced a febrile seizure at 11 months old that seemingly launched her immune system into attack mode. At 18 months she still wasn’t walking, and no longer crawled. Her parents started Megan in physical therapy, but she did not make any progress. With so many unknowns in their daughter’s future, it was an incredibly scary time for Megan’s family.

One weekend, when Megan was a little over a year and a half, her ankles became extremely swollen with no known cause. Desperate for answers, her family took her to their pediatrician who referred them to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. There Megan was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

Affecting over 300,000 children in the United States, JIA can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. In some cases, chronic fevers and rashes occur as well as organ damage.   JIA is thought to be an autoimmune and auto inflammatory disease with no known cause.  The child’s immune system can be triggered into action against normal body parts, not just infections, causing the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints, muscles, organs, and even eyes.  Chronic inflammation in the joints, organs, and eyes causes permanent damage and can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately.

At Nationwide Children’s, pediatric rheumatologists provide comprehensive care and consultation services for children with suspected or definite rheumatic diseases and non-surgical musculoskeletal problems.

After about a year of trial and error, Megan’s rheumatology team were able to find the right combination of medicines that worked for Megan and provided her a good quality of life. Today, she is seven years old and doing well with monthly infusions under her care team led by Karla Jones, CPNP-PC at Nationwide Children’s. Megan doesn’t let her diagnosis stop her and is involved in swim team, cheerleading, and art. She is very passionate in sharing her story and helping other kids like her.

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital saved my daughter’s life.  I know everyone says that, but I strongly believe with my involvement in research now that the early and aggressive treatment she received from the rheumatology department saved her joints from permanent damage and gave her the very best quality of life we could have wished for,” says Melanie, Megan’s mom.

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Megan was a normal, healthy baby until she experienced a febrile seizure at 11 months old that seemingly launched her immune system into attack mode. At 18 months she still wasn’t walking, and no longer crawled. Her parents started Megan in physical therapy, but she did not make any progress. With so many unknowns in their daughter’s future, it was an incredibly scary time for Megan’s family.

One weekend, when Megan was a little over a year and a half, her ankles became extremely swollen with no known cause. Desperate for answers, her family took her to their pediatrician who referred them to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. There Megan was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA).

Affecting over 300,000 children in the United States, JIA can cause persistent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. In some cases, chronic fevers and rashes occur as well as organ damage.   JIA is thought to be an autoimmune and auto inflammatory disease with no known cause.  The child’s immune system can be triggered into action against normal body parts, not just infections, causing the immune system to attack otherwise healthy joints, muscles, organs, and even eyes.  Chronic inflammation in the joints, organs, and eyes causes permanent damage and can be life-threatening if not treated appropriately.

At Nationwide Children’s, pediatric rheumatologists provide comprehensive care and consultation services for children with suspected or definite rheumatic diseases and non-surgical musculoskeletal problems.

After about a year of trial and error, Megan’s rheumatology team were able to find the right combination of medicines that worked for Megan and provided her a good quality of life. Today, she is seven years old and doing well with monthly infusions under her care team led by Karla Jones, CPNP-PC at Nationwide Children’s. Megan doesn’t let her diagnosis stop her and is involved in swim team, cheerleading, and art. She is very passionate in sharing her story and helping other kids like her.

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital saved my daughter’s life.  I know everyone says that, but I strongly believe with my involvement in research now that the early and aggressive treatment she received from the rheumatology department saved her joints from permanent damage and gave her the very best quality of life we could have wished for,” says Melanie, Megan’s mom.

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