celebrities with arthritis

Gabi Rojas

You might be saying who? Gabi Rojas was featured on So You Think You Can Dance earlier this year.

(For the record, my dream was always to become a ballerina. The chronic nature of my arthritis along with the fact that I’m very uncoordinated has squashed that dream, but I still love to dance)

At the age of 12, Gabi’s mother noticed that her index finger was pretty swollen. As more swelling appeared, a doctor’s visit and tests revealed that Gabi had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Because of the pain, she often used a wheelchair at school and had to stop dancing. Like many diagnosed with JRA, she had many sleepless nights and tried anything she could to ease the pain. Finally, the doctors found the right mix of medicines for her and Gabi was able to begin dancing again.
She wasn’t picked to go any farther than her audition on SYTYCD, but that hasn’t stopped her dancing career. She has joined a dance company and continues to work on her movement. She is definitely someone to look up to.

“When I dance I can feel my spirit being lifted,” she says. “When I dance I’m reminded about breath because when that point of ultimate exertion arrives I have no choice but to take in more breath to keep going,” she says. “It’s at that moment I remember my breathing hard isn’t just a moment of recovery but a beautiful reminder that I’m alive, I’m present and I’m me.”

More information can be found at Arthritis Today.

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