Meet Audrey Robichaud-Nadeau. Audrey lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Audrey Robichaud-Nadeau was 8 years old when she was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She is now 18 years of age. “My disease caused me a lot of pain, fatigue and stiffness. It was hard going to school and doing activities like phys-ed and walking,” she recalls.
To ease her pain, Audrey receives an injection every six weeks and takes painkillers twice a day. Although these medications cause itching, headaches and nausea, they also allow her to function. “My meds help me get out of bed and give me more endurance, for walking, for example.”
Numerous hospitalizations – “I stopped counting after fifteen,” she says – combined with a bone marrow transplant caused her to miss several months of school each year since grade nine, with the result that Audrey had to drop out of the regular program and eventually out of school altogether. “Every afternoon, I would come back home and sleep for three hours because I was so exhausted,” she recounts.
Despite her arthritis, which she likens to a wall that is keeping her from going where she wants, Audrey has dreams: “I love anything having to do with beauty and makeup. I feel better and look less sick when I have makeup on. I would like to be an aesthetician or a make-up artist.” In fact, Audrey visited a beauty school a few months ago and is planning to enrol.
For the time being, she’ll go back to the Kids OnThe Move Camp she attended as a child for eight years, only this time she’ll be there to work.
“This summer, I’ll be an assistant counsellor at the Kids OnThe Move Camp to give back to kids what I received when I was their age. My name is Audrey and I am living proof that donating to HealthPartners works.”
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