Kelly Rouba wears many hats: She's an author, a journalist, a pr professional, a public speaker, a NJ resident and a young woman with a strong voice. Kelly also has Juvenile Arthritis and has released her first book called Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide, sharing the stories of other kids, teens and young adults who live with the disease which affects more than 300,000 children in the U.S. Writing the book was an opportunity for Kelly to be that resource for families that did not exist when she was younger.
"I wrote this book to fill a void," said Kelly. "Prior to its release, resources on juvenile arthritis were either outdated or geared towards parents. This book is one that families can read together, and I have received positive feedback from quite a few who have done just that."
Since the release of her book in March, Kelly has met other people across the country, either through her blog or at her various speaking engagements, that have been truly grateful to her for bringing more attention to juvenile arthritis, a disease which she has lived with since the age of 2.
"I am often approached by parents of children living with juvenile arthritis, and they are devastated from having to watch their children live in pain and struggling to cope as they lose more and more of their mobility to this disease. It is hard for me to hear their stories and see their videos on their blogs because it is a constant reminder of what I went through as a child and continue to go through as an adult."
From her pain came advocacy and from an early age, Kelly has been an active volunteer and spokesperson for the Arthritis Foundation and Arthritis National Research Foundation. It was because of her service that the ANRF honored Kelly with the Kelly Award which will be used to fund juvenile arthritis research.
"My biggest wish is that funds donated to the Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis will lead to a cure and our youngest generation won't have to experience all the pain--physically and emotionally--that I endured."
Even though Kelly has been able to spark local interest in her book and awareness about juvenile arthritis, there is still not enough national coverage given to this truly heartbreaking disease.
"Many commercials and television segments undermine the severity of arthritis. As someone who has suffered from the disease for more than 27 years, I know how damaging it can be to one's body. For this reason, I have been advocating on behalf of all those living with arthritis and working hard to raise funds for better treatments and even a cure."
You can read more about Kelly and her book at her blog: kellyrouba.blogspot.com. Her book, Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide is available online in hardcover and for the Kindle.