Logan Pieske, of Union, will be traveling 894 miles to Washington, D.C., in April to share his story of the struggle of living with arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability.

Logan will tell U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer that more needs to be done for people with arthritis — more research, more public health initiatives and better access to arthritis treatments.

 “As far as I know, I am the only one from my town going to Washington and I feel I must speak up for those who can’t be there to say that ignoring arthritis is unacceptable,” he said.

It was May 2009 when Logan injured his knee joint playing baseball.  Months of therapy and knee surgery offered no improvement.  

With his knee continuing to swell Logan was referred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  

There his family received the chilling news that Logan was suffering with JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis).

He immediately began knee injections and battled through the side effects of his medication.  For months Logan’s condition remained unchanged, and the toll on him and his parents became too much to bear.  It wasn’t until February of 2011 that a new treatment plan was put into place, and Logan began to improve.

Today, Logan is close to being in remission and has even started back playing baseball.  

“Logan is no different than any other child, he just endures more,” said Logan’s mother, Kris Pieske.

Logan and his family remain active in Arthritis Foundation events, and this year Logan’s Team Pieske will take part in the 2012 Arthritis Walk.  Logan and his entire family have endured the pain and challenges that arthritis brings with courage and determination.  

The Arthritis Foundation is proud to have them attend the 2012 Advocacy Summit.

Logan is leaving Union later this month to join nearly 300 other Arthritis Foundation advocates who will gather on Capitol Hill for the annual Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit, taking place from April 16 to April 18.

People with arthritis have been hit hard by the economic downturn over the last several years and the increasing cost of medications has especially been a tremendous burden.  

Like Logan, 50 million Americans, which is one in five adults, suffer from arthritis in the United States.

The advocacy summit also hosts several children who also suffer from arthritis.

“There are 300,000 children who are affected by juvenile arthritis,” says Amy Melnick, vice president of advocacy for the Arthritis Foundation.

Each year the summit brings together about 300 advocates — adults, children and their families, and Arthritis Foundation staff—from nearly all 50 states to urge action for the prevention, control and cure of arthritis.

Striking one in every five adults, arthritis is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease and also the nation’s leading cause of disability.  

The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to reducing the impact of arthritis, which can severely damage joints and rob people of their ability to live normal lives, including children.

The oundation provides proven programs to help fight arthritis pain, pursues public policy on behalf of patients, and supports groundbreaking research for effective treatments and a cure.