We find ourselves once again in what we loving refer to as “Walk Season” as we gear up for another Walk to Cure Arthritis with the Arthritis Foundation.  This year the Walk will take place on May 7th and we will once again be at John Ball Park.  Mackenzie is already super excited about the event and can’t wait to see everyone in their orange shirts.

Since last year’s Walk, Mackenzie has experienced a lot of wonderful things:
* She went on vacation to Niagara Falls and Boston, MA
* She had a check up in June that showed no active signs of arthritis
* She started Kindergarten and LOVES it!
* She started her third year in gymnastics – this year she started in level A1
* She had a check up in September that again showed no active signs of arthritis and so we were instructed to begin backing down her medication. She started receiving her 50mg injections of Enbrel every other week instead of every week.
* She went on a long weekend vacation to Mackinac Island (her second favorite vacation spot…comes in right behind visiting Mickey’s House [aka Disney World])
* She once again was invited to participate in the Tribute to Excellence Dinner for the Arthritis Foundation as a greeter. She had a ball!
* She had a very wonderful holiday season (Halloween had her dressed up like a Minion, Thanksgiving was filled with lots of yummy turkey, and at Christmas Santa brought her a new Pooh bear)
* She had a check up in January that still showed no active signs of arthritis and so we were instructed to further back down her medications to 25mg injections of Enbrel every other week

And now here we are.  It is February and Mackenzie has been on the lowest levels of meds she has experienced since her diagnosis back in November of 2012 and she is doing amazing!  My heart just soars as I watch her grow, play, participate and enjoy childhood.  These things weren’t even possible for her just a year ago!  We have so very much to be thankful for!

As we get ready for the Walk on May 7th we will once again be hosting our Mom2Mom Sale as our “big” fundraiser for the Walk.  The sale will take place on Saturday, April 16th at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church from 9a to 1p.  There will be between 20 and 25 vendors selling infant and children’s clothing, baby equipment (car seats, high chairs, pack ‘n plays, swings, strollers, etc.), toys, books, games, and much more.  There will also be a Bake Sale and a Girl Scout Cookie Booth (Mackenzie will be there selling cookies so be sure to stop and say hello).  For more information on the sale or to register for a sellers booth please click on the Contact Us tab and send us a message.  You can also find a flyer with more information under the Events tab.

Over the months since the last Walk we have also been introduced to new families that have had a child recently receive a diagnosis of Juvenile Arthritis.  We have also watched as members of our JA family have struggled with set backs, numerous surgeries, being wheel chair bound, have siblings receive JA diagnosis’, have medication reactions and more.  As we celebrate the amazing progress Mackenzie is making everyday our hearts break for our JA families that are struggling.  For this reason we will always pray, advocate, fundraise, and generate awareness about this disease.  We will not stop until a cure is found!

If you would like to join Mackenzie at the 2016 Walk to Cure Arthritis please click on this link and then click Join Team.  She would love to have you come support her and Walk with her.  (if you are unable to click on the link, please copy and paste it into your browser). We always have room for more Team Members.  It’s free to register so mark your calendar and plan to be at John Ball Park on May 7th to support Mackenzie and help us Walk towards a Cure!

Unfortunately Mackenzie has caught the stomach flu.  Poor kid was up at least six times during the night and is still miserable today.  To add to her upset shehad to miss her favorite thing…school and the cherry on top, it’s Girl Scout Day and she is going to miss her Girl Scout meeting.  She is one very unhappy little girl today.  Hopefully this is a quick moving “bug” and leaves just as quick as it arrived.

To add to her not feeling well and missing out on her favorite activities she is also unfortunately experiencing a flare in her arthritis.  This is a part of this awful disease that she will most likely be burdened with for the rest of her life even if she achieves remission.  The flares occur even when the disease is under control or in remission because her immune system is working extra hard to fight the virus she is currently affected with.  Arthritis is an auto immune disease in which her immune system attacks her joints as if they were a virus or foreign element within her body that should be eliminated.  So any time she catches a cold or any other type of virus or illness and her immune system ramps up to fight the infection it also tends to go back and disrupt her joints as well.  It’s a vicious disease and a vicious cycle that she will most likely not outgrow.

Hopefully this is a short term set back and she will be back up on her feet again soon.  She is due her next injection of Enbrel this Saturday so we have to get her feeling better so she can get it.


This past Friday was our BIG trip to Ann Arbor and Mackenzie’s Quarterly Check Up at Mott Children’s Hospital Rheumatology Department.  At her visit we were told that she is now considered in remission on medication.  This is great news!  It also means the decision has been made to completely stop her Enbrel.  YIPEE!!!!!  Yes, there was a lot of celebrating being done after hearing this.  It is a great feeling knowing she won’t have to endure her bi-weekly injections or her quarterly lab work.  Of course the happiest one of all was Mackenzie knowing she no longer has to have any “pokes”.

What all of this good news does not mean….well first of all her status right now is remission on medication.  In order to be in full remission she has to go all the way until April 2nd of 2017 without any return of symptoms to be considered in full remission.  That is a long time from now but yet it is also a lot shorter then the almost four years she has been battling this terrible disease.   It also means that she is not cured.  There is no cure for arthritis.  Even if she is able to achieve full remission, Mackenzie will still have arthritis in her body and will always have to live with the knowledge that it could come back at anytime.

We are very excited by the fact that Mackenzie is doing so well and has endured so many treatments, doctors visits, physical and occupational therapy, and lab work like a real super hero.  She is an inspiration to us and to many that she meets.  Remission or no remission she and the rest of the family will continue to work, advocate and fundraise for the Arthritis Foundation so that one day we will have that cure!


This year we’ve found ourselves being “challenged” to raise funds for the Walk to Cure Arthritis.  It’s hard to believe that this will be our fifth Walk.  Last year we were walking in celebration of Mackenzie’s health at the time and the thought that she was on her way to remission.  This year we walk with a renewed purpose to find a cure after Mackenzie relapsed last summer.

Our first year, 2013 we raised over $6000.  Our “big” fundraiser that year was a Gently Used Book Sale and Bake Sale but the majority of our donations came simply from our asking.  For many the cause was new (many didn’t know a two year old could have arthritis).  In 2014 we hosted our first ever Mom2Mom Sale in March of that year.  It was a huge success with all of our seller spaces filled and a line at the door on sale day with shoppers waiting to come in and shop.  It was truly amazing.  It was also the year the Arthritis Foundation asked Mackenzie to be the Youth Honoree.  Her face was everywhere including on television.  That year we raised over $4500.  2015 was our second largest fundraising year with just shy of $5000 in donations.  That year we hosted two large fundraisers, our 2nd Annual Mom2Mom Sale and we published a cookbook – Cooking for a Cure with Mackenzie’s Sidekicks.   In both 2014 and 2015 we also partnered with area restaurants for Give Back events in which the restaurant gave our team a donation based on a percentage of food/beverages purchased on a specific date.  Last year was our “small” year.  It was small in donation support and small in team size.  We raised just over $1600 and had a team of twelve walk with us on Walk day.

This year we are just 40 days away from the 2017 Walk and we have raised $920 of our $3000 goal and have 5 registered walkers of our 20 walker goal.  Our largest annual fundraiser was cancelled due to a lack of participation (we couldn’t get enough sellers to fill the sale) and so we find ourselves having to work harder to raise the funds that go to help support the Arthritis Foundation in their work of education, advocacy and research and development towards a cure.  We know there are numerous causes out there continuously asking you for a donation….Relay for Life (American Cancer Society), Parkinson’s, Diabetes, and many more.  We feel it too.  Even the school system has the kids fundraising for not only the school but also the American Heart Association with Jump Rope for Heart.  We know you feel the pressure of all of these organizations (and all very worthy organizations) asking you to give and give and give.

The difference for us is that we also feel the hurt, the loss, the frustration of arthritis as we watch our almost seven year old daughter battle this invisible disease for what is now her fifth year.  Some of these other causes are very near and dear to us as well, as they raise funds for cures for illnesses and diseases that also have had or currently have an affect on our family, but this….the Walk to Cure Arthritis, is our #1.  We will continue to put it at the top of our list until we can find a cure!  We will continue to raise awareness that arthritis isn’t just an old person’s disease.  We will continue to raise awareness that there aren’t enough pediatric rheumatologists in the country to treat all of the children currently diagnosed and those that will be diagnosed in the future.  We will continue to fundraise to fund more research and development of medications that will give those suffering a better quality of life until a cure can be found.  And most of all we will fundraise to find the CURE!

If you can spare a dollar, or two, or more we ask that you consider helping us reach our $3000 goal by donating to the 2017 Walk to Cure in support of Mackenzie and her team.  We ask that if you are willing to host a fundraiser for us that you reach out to us and let us know (a blue jean day at the office, a coin challenge in your classroom(s) or office, a raffle, and event, etc), we will be happy to partner with you.  Every dollar helps, there is no such thing as too little of a donation.  We would also love to have you join us on May 6th at the Walk at John Ball Park/Zoo.  The event is a very easy stroll around the perimeter of John Ball Park and for those that donate/raise $30 or more you receive free admission to the Zoo for the rest of the day.  It’s just a couple hours out of your Saturday, one day of the year to come out and support Mackenzie and show her that she is not alone in her battle against arthritis.

To donate or join our team or both, simply follow this link:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and as always thank you so much for your love and support of Mackenzie.  Together we can find a cure!


It's that time of year again where we begin talking Spring and of course, the Walk to Cure Arthritis.  We are excited to be preparing for our eighth Walk and this year the Walk will be even more bittersweet as it will be our last Walk here in Michigan. 

Late summer of 2019 we made the decision to make a change and relocate to North Carolina at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.  Our decision was based primarily in the hope that the change is climate will be beneficial to Mackenzie and her battle with her arthritis.  Michigan has always been home to our family but for a child that is battling arthritis the brutal Michigan winters are extrememly hard.  The cold temperatures often tend to leave Mackenzie in active flares with swollen joints and a great deal of pain and when the real feel temperature dips below twenty degrees it's painful for her to even go outside which leaves her isolated from friends at school when they all go outside for recess.  In North Carolina these types of bitter cold temperatures are very rare and will allow her the opportunity for a better quality of life.  

This year we are asking everyone to please make an extra effort to join us for the Walk on May 3rd.  Becuase this is our last Walk to Cure here in Michigan we would love to see our biggest Team turn out yet and send Mackenzie off to North Carolina having felt the tremendous love and support of all of her family, friends, and supporters.  In recent years our team has drastically shrunk and it's been very obvious to Mackenzie.  We know life happens and gets busy but this year we would love to surprise her with a huge turnout, bigger then ever before!  Let's put a huge smile on her face and surround her with everything you've got!!!!

This years Walk to Cure will once again be held at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, MI.  Onsite check-in will begin at 11:00am and the Walk will officially step off at 1:00pm.  There will be lots to do before and after the Walk so bring your families and friends!  The course will have both a 1 mile and a 3 mile option and the entire course is paved.  Online registration is open and it's FREE to register.  All participants need to register before joining in at the event.  To join our team, follow this link: and click the JOIN OUR TEAM button.  It's that easy!  

Let's make 2020 the year to remember!!!!