We are excited to be registered for this year's Jingle Bell Run!!!! Although it iwll be a virtual event the ultimate goal will be the same...to bring about awareness, advocate, and fundraise for a cure!!!  Please consider joining our team whereever you may be or if you would like to make a donation to show your support you click this link https://events.arthritis.org/tea/23113. And as always we truly appreciate your love and support!!!! 


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Who doesn't love a sale!!!!  We would love to finish August off strong with our mask sale fundrasing so we are offering a special coupon to use in our store.  If you are still in need of a mask or two, please hop on over to our Etsy store and when checking out be sure to use coupon code: WEBAUGPROMO to get 20% of your order!  As a reminder, $1.30 from every mask purchased is donated to the Arthritis Foundation to help further their mission of advocacy, support and finding a cure for arthritis!



2020 is definitely a year of forced change for sure.  Never in our lives could we have imagined living through a World Wide Pandemic.  Yes, we've learned about them through our history studies but it honestly is another one of those things that we said "That was x amount of years ago. That won't happen now" and yet here we are living in the midst of one.

Covid-19 is definitely having a huge impact on the world as a whole from living in periods of quarentine to social distancing to wearing a face mask anytime we are in public.  The impacts of Covid-19 are also impacting our economy with so many people out of work whether by choice or by force.  This has also created a huge impact on the Arthritis Foundation as well.  With so many people out of work and money tight amazing organizations like the Arthritis Foundation also are feeling the impact greatly.

This year all of our major events have been moved to virtual events and that has definitely had a major impact on the amount of funds that are raised by these events.  In May we held our first ever Virtual Walk to Cure Arthritis.  It was definitely not the same as the excitement, the community, and the inspiration of an in person event but the Foundation did a great job of creating something with very little time that managed to bring together the entire country in one giant Walk event instead of all of our individual community events.  

As the year has progressed other events have also been moved to a virtual platform including the annual JA Conference and the JA Summer Camps.  We all know virtual isn't the ideal way to have these events but it is also better then outright cancellation of the events.  Even now as I type this blog post the Foundation is very busy reorganizing in order to be able to continue to not only provide these events we have all come to embrace and look forward to in any format and manner that they can but to also continue to reach out to those affected by arthritis and provide them a community of support along with continuing to find new and creative ways to raise funds for research towards a cure.  

I am excited to see where the Foundation is headed and to also be a part of it.  I knew even before the pandemic and our physical relocation to North Carolina that when we did move I wanted to be even more involved and help the Foundation in any way that I could.  There are lots of things in progress and I will be sharing all that I can as I can moving forward but in the mean time, please be sure to jump over to our both our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MackenziesSidekicks and our Instagram page www.instagram.com/mackenziessidekicks/and be sure to like and follow them for the most up to date information and announcements.  Also, if you or anyone you know has arthritis please be sure to visit or share the Arthritis Foundation's website at www.arthritis.org and click on the Connect Now button to begin finding help and connection with the arthritis journey.  Nobody has to fight this battle alone!  

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It's back to school for our hero!!!!  Hard to believe she is in Fifth Grade!!!!  This year definitely started out very strange.  This picture is from her first day of school.  This year she and her sister are doing a hybrid style school due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Monday through Wednesday all of her school is done online and at home.  She has several Zoom meetings with teachers and then she has assignments to complete through out the day in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies.  

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Thursday was the first day back to school in person.  This was the best day of the week for our girl!  She was so excited to finally get back to the physical classroom after a 160 day "break" due to the pandemic.  This was also a big day as it was the first day in her new school in our new hometown in North Carolina.  So not only was it the first day of the school year but also the first day in the new school.  

We are very happy with the new schools procedures and handling of the current health situation.  The class sizes are very small (Mackenzie only has five kids total in her class when she is in the classroom).  The staff does a great screening before kids are even allowed into the building (parents/students must answer some health questions and the kids have their temp taken before they are allowed to get out of their car) and then once in the building there are markings for social distancing, all students and staff regardless of age/grade are required to wear masks, and they handwash numerous times through out the day.  Mackenzie said the kids have been great in following the rules/procedures and we couldn't be happier.  

This pandemic has definitly made our entire relocation to North Carolina very different from what we had imagined but we are making the very best of it even our return to school!  



August has definitely not been the month of great progress for this girl with her JA.  Earlier this month we increased her dose of Orencia.  She had been in so much discomfort that we and her previous Rheumatologist believed this to be the next step.  So luckly when she was first placed on Orencia her Rheumatologist sent in her prior approval to the insurance for the higher dosage so we really didn't have a delay in receiving her higher dosed meds.  As you can see in the picutres she was extremely happy when the medication arrived.

Last week we met her new Rheumatologist here in North Carolina.  She really liked him and felt like he listened to her and made her feel comfortable even if she wasn't the most forth coming with her current level of pain.  No worries, the new Rheumatologist was extremely thorough and had no trouble finding all of her "bad" spots.  It was discovered during her exam that she has visibly active arthritis in both of her knees, and in five fingers (two on her right hand and three on her left).  Normally this would type of visit would end with a change in plans for her medications and overall treatment plan but not this time.  Right now he is choosing to keep her on the higher dose of Orencia, mainly because we were only two weeks into the higher dose and this medication is very slow reacting.  So for now his plan is to have her continue the course and return in six weeks (normally we visit the Rheumatologist once every three months) and see how she is after two full months on the higher dosage.  He also indicated that he would like to get her started in some physical and/or occupational theraphy as well once we get some control over the arthritis.  She is definitely back sliding in her overall battle and it's been a very hard thing to watch.