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Battling juvenile arthritis, West De Pere grad wants to help others

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 31, 2023

At 12 years old, Mira Leurquin went from an active girl involved in gymnastics, to barely being able to get out of bed.

She had received a diagnosis of juvenile arthritis after an injury was not healing normally and she suffered joint problems, she said.

Leurquin is far from alone, said a specialist who treated her, Dr. Paul Tuttle with Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists (OSMS).

"About 6,000 children in Wisconsin suffer from juvenile arthritis," Tuttle said.

The condition is an auto immune disease in which the body attacks itself.

Symptoms include "... swelling in their joints, a lot of stiffness in the morning..." Tuttle said.

"It was hard for me, because I liked to be active," Leurquin said.

After treatment, however, she was able to get active again, for example, she ran cross country in high school.

"My doctor got me on a bunch of treatment plans, and now I'm on the right medication, I take a daily pill," Leurquin said.

The West De Pere High School graduate is going to college in the fall, with plans to join the medical field to work to help children who are in the same situation.

"I want to be an infusion nurse to help people... making them [feel] more comfortable," Leurquin said.