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updated: 4/13/2014 4:37 PM

St. Charles East students walk to help 2-year-old girl's cause

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  • Caitlin Cox, almost 3, walks with her parents, Meghan and Jeff, during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the St. Charles East High School student council Sunday at the school's Sports Center. She was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis last September.

       Caitlin Cox, almost 3, walks with her parents, Meghan and Jeff, during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the St. Charles East High School student council Sunday at the school's Sports Center. She was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis last September.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Students round the indoor track during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the St. Charles East High School student council Sunday at the school's Sports Center.

       Students round the indoor track during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the St. Charles East High School student council Sunday at the school's Sports Center.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Vicki Schlinder, administrative assistant to the Assistant Principal of Student Life at St. Charles East High School, talks with her granddaughter, Caitlin, during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the school's student council Sunday. Caitlin was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis last September when she was 26 months old.

       Vicki Schlinder, administrative assistant to the Assistant Principal of Student Life at St. Charles East High School, talks with her granddaughter, Caitlin, during a Juvenile Arthritis benefit walk organized by the school's student council Sunday. Caitlin was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis last September when she was 26 months old.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Six months ago, Caitlin Cox couldn't even bend her knees. Swelling and pain had stiffened the two-year-old's joints so badly she had to be carried around the house.

On Sunday, the St. Charles girl couldn't be stopped.

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At an organized walk to benefit Juvenile Arthritis, event that came together because of her, Caitlin's family watched her bounce around the St. Charles East High School Sports Center.

"She's elusive," said her father, Jeff, as he tried to hold her hand and walk.

The school's student council organized the event to bring awareness to juvenile arthritis after learning of Caitlin's struggles through and is Caitlin's grandmother, Vicki Schlinder, and administrative assistant who helps with Student Life activities at the school. Caitlin was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 26 months old.

Because she was so young, Jeff and Meghan Cox could only guess at the cause of their daughter's pain. No blood test is available for diagnosis at such a young age. But after visiting doctors in Chicago, and getting a steroid injection, Caitlin's symptoms cleared.

"We manage her symptoms now," Jeff Cox said, adding that Caitlin may need more steroid injections in her knees in the future, but for now, she is active.

Student Council President Jasper Koenen, a senior at the school, officially dedicated the walk to Caitlin as dozens of early arrivals at the three-hour event applauded.

"It's a great cause and a real fun event," he said. "The first 100 people get a pair of Easter Bunny ears."

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