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Body Of Steel

NFL player works hand in hand with Arthritis Foundation to bring kids hope.

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Arthritis Foundation

On a November morning back in 2006, Charcandrick West out of no where woke up with stiff joints, a fever, and a rash. West was a football player, and a good one at that. In fact, just a day before he had played a game where he scored three touchdowns for his team. He started out at 185 pounds, and dropped to 120. Finally, he found out his diagnosis - juvenile arthritis.

After the news, West was told he might never play football again. Now, he's an NFL player for the Kansas City Chiefs. There were times he felt like giving up, but he continued to be his mother’s support system through it all. “He laid there and cried and didn’t want to go anymore,” his mother said. “And I said, ‘Son, you're lying here, and God put you here for a reason. This is not the end.’ Charcandrick was the one that had to be there with me and keep me strong.”

West began taking injections and medication, and he has been able to play football ever since.

“Having arthritis slowed me down so that I wasn’t able to do all the things I wanted as a kid. That opened my eyes,” West said. “Never give up. No dream is too big.”

Arthritis affects over 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. This is equivalent to 1 in 5 adults. Arthritis also affects 300,000 children, and the numbers are continuously growing. The Arthritis Foundation is a non-profit organization which works to fight the disease, and find a cure.

The Arthritis Foundation is the “Champion of Yes”, and helps not only to find a cure but also provides information to others to better understand the disease. Their goal is to “chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life - and making each day another stride towards a cure.” The foundation also published a magazine called Arthritis Today, which is an award-winning magazine that reaches and informs 4.2 million readers.

Arthritis is often a disease that goes unnoticed. West hopes to change that. To do so, Charcandrick is constantly working with kids who are dealing with arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation. Recently, he appeared in a music video called “Body of Steel,” which was made by the Singing for Superheroes organization. The purpose of the project was to bring awareness to childhood arthritis and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation. West wants to always let kids with arthritis know to never give up, and that no dream is too big. The Arthritis Foundation allows this to happen.

The non-profit has multiple events which raise money for the cause and finding a cure, including Jingle Bell Run, Walk to Cure Arthritis, dinners and galas, and more. Each event also have volunteer opportunities for those wishing to get involved. For more information, to donate, or see how you can help in finding a cure, visit arthritis.org.

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