Hello all! My name is Rochelle Lozano writing to you from North Hollywood, CA! I am thrilled and humbled to be a part of this exciting opportunity as a contestant in the 2014 Miss California USA pageant as Ms. Lankershim. This event will take place in Long Beach, CA in January 2014. I am competing in this pageant to not only garner opportunities and further my career, but to empower myself and other women nationwide to be happy and confident in themselves, and also through my platform in shedding light to debilitating diseases. My platform will be focusing on debilitating diseases in our youth, specifically juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. This issue is near and dear to my heart because I was diagnosed with this debilitating disease during my sophomore year in high school, allowing me to have a very weak immune system. Though devastating and potentially hazardous to my health, it did not stop me and my family from being positive and living a healthy, active life to achieve success and inspire greatness.
Typically, when one hears the word arthritis, one associates the disorder with senior citizens. As this holds truth to a certain extent, which is commonly known as osteoarthritis, cases of children under the age of 16 are diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that typically affects your body's joints. "Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity" (mayoclinic.com).
"An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. In addition to causing joint problems, rheumatoid arthritis sometimes can affect other organs of the body "” such as the skin, eyes, lungs and blood vessels" (mayoclinic.com). "Some types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious complications, such as growth problems and eye inflammation. Treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis focuses on controlling pain, improving function and preventing joint damage" (mayoclinic.com).
With my platform, I would love to work with and represent Shriner's Hospital for Children. When I was receiving treatment throughout my high school years in Hawaii at Shriner's Hospital, I met the most lovely and bravest children, some as young as 4 years old, that were also diagnosed with JRA, and I was in the hands of some of the best care physicians I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Not only did they treat my disorder, they made me feel like family and emphasized that I could do anything I set my mind to. Shriner's also treated kids with no required cost from the family members, so this worldwide organization is a godsend to my family and numerous families. Some children experience multiple symptoms for a short period of time, whilst others will experience it for years, or even for the duration of their lives. Learning and reading about JRA since I was diagnosed has raised so many questions and I've learned that it is still unclear as to what causes our body's immune system to attack the tissues and cells; however, ongoing research is still in effect. Children deserve to lead happy and healthy lives, and diseases such as JRA, can and will be cured and overcome through continued research. I am happy to report that I am in remission now and I strive to be a source of positive hope for anyone struggling with rheumatoid arthritis at any age.
I kindly and humbly ask for your generosity and support to be a voice in this pageant, shed light on this important issue I am passionate about and to promote confidence and inner beauty for all women. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and your donation is tax deductible. Lastly, any unused portion of the money I raise will be donated to Shriner's Hospital in Los Angeles, the organization I am representing and would like to dedicate my time and work to. Thanks in advanced and many blessings to you all!
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