Lauren & Emily

Lauren, almost 13 years old, found out she had juvenile dermatomyositis (JM) when she was in the 5th grade. At first, she gained weight and had trouble keeping up with her friends. This was tough for someone her age, especially since she had to take a break from dancing, which was something she loved to do.

When her mom found out about The Myositis Association, she joined and emailed other families who were also a part of the TMA family. She heard back from Emily, who is the same age as Lauren. This thrilled both Lauren and Emily, and they started emailing each other every day. Soon, they decided to talk on the phone, then to meet in person.

Their families got together in San Antonio, Texas, where they talked a lot about what they’d been through with JM. The weekend included go-cart racing, painting pottery and listening to the mariachi band at the local Mexican restaurant.

Lauren enjoys a lot of activities now and recently had the chance to swim with Myah, a dolphin: “Riding Myah made me feel like I could do anything. Even though I just met her, I trusted her to carry me safely through the deep water. It was so neat to feel her heartbeat.”

Emily, now 12 years old, was diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyostis (JM) when she was 9. She took prednisone, which many of you know all about. She started breaking her bones every time she fell down, so she slowly stopped taking it. Her JM started to get better with different medicines, and she’s feeling healthier and stronger.

In the summer of 2003, she met Lauren. “She finally had someone to talk to,” said her mom. Since most adults can’t even say dermatomyositis, it was nice for Emily to have someone who really understood what it was like to be a young girl with JM. Her mom feels that Lauren’s friendship helped Emily in so many ways.

Now in 6th grade, Emily is getting used to new teachers and a bigger school. “My hobbies are volleyball, band (French horn) and doing my nails,” she says.

Emily really enjoys playing volleyball, where she doesn’t have to run as much as she would in other sports, says her mom: “The ball is flying over regularly, she’s sliding across the floor on her knees, and best of all…she is having fun being with girls her age, doing the things girls her age do without a second thought!”