Molly's Kids: Putting a brave face on Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Molly's Kids: Putting a brave face on Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
(Credit: Family)

STATESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - It's been a couple weeks since welcoming a new amazing kid to #MollysKids... happy this morning to meet Jacob Waite.

Jacob is in the second grade at Cool Spring Elementary in Statesville. The 9-year-old has inflammation in every joint on his left side - jaw, shoulder, fingers, wrist, elbow, hip, knee, ankles, toes, and also on his right ankle and knee, back and neck.

"He has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis subtype psoriatic," said mom Jessica. "Which is really misunderstood."

It basically means Jacob's body is attacking itself. He can look fine on the outside, but live in excruciating pain on the inside.

Jacob's mom reached out after we started following one of Jacob's good friends (another one of our #MollysKids) -- Allie McDaniels -- through her own medical journey. Allie spends lots of time talking with Jacob about how to not let pain control your life.

Currently, Jacob is on daily meds, weekly injections, and a monthly infusion. His nails of his fingers and toes have psoriasis in them. Sometimes it's so bad, his mom says, his nails will fall off after separating from the nailbed. Jacob also has really deep veins, so he has a port-a-cath because the multiple sticks were getting too painful and causing panic attacks.

"He is a strong kid," mom Jessica said. "He has used coping mechanisms, some that Allie taught him, to get through the roughest days. But there are days he struggles to walk. Often times he cries in his sleep, in pain. He can use the elevator at school on stiff days but even just the walking class to class requires help from his teacher. And yet, he is an amazing kid. He tries to smile through."

Jessica says her son loves to sing, dance, make people laugh, hunt, ride horses, play with his "brother" (his mom's boyfriend's son), and enjoy time with family and friends.

"Everyone always tells me how happy Jacob is," Jessica said. "How full of energy, funny, silly and loving he seems. But he's also fatigued because of this autoimmune disease. And he's in pain so much his eyes swell up. He gets sad, and he can sometimes sleep for 16 hours. All the mommy kisses and cuddles won't make the pain, general malaise, or fatigue go away."

Brave-faced Jacob. Another good reminder from yet another young warrior, you never know what others are going through.

Welcome to #MollysKids, Jacob. We're thrilled to meet you.

-Molly

**Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Gr antham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.

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