Libertyville girl, despite pain, to join arthritis walk
Delaney Rogers, 7, of Libertyville looks for a teammate to throw to during Saturday's soccer game. She plays many sports despite painful arthritis. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
WHAT’S GOING ON: She is 2012 Youth Honoree for Lake County’s Arthritis Foundation walk on Saturday.
QUOTE: “I like walking with all of the people.”
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:28AM
Delaney Rogers looks like a normal healthy child. She enjoys soccer, gymnastics, swimming, softball and other sports.
But the 7-year-old Libertyville girl was born with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating condition that causes pain in her bones and joints.
“She’s a real trooper. You can tell she’s hurting, but she tends to never complain about it at all,” said her father Kevin Rogers.
Because of Delaney’s courage and her efforts to draw attention to juvenile arthritis, she was named the 2012 Youth Honoree for Lake County’s Arthritis Foundation walk on Saturday, May 5 at Adler Park in Libertyville.
Delaney and her parents, Kevin and Jenny Rogers, and sister, Sally Grace, have participated in the local arthritis walk for the past four years. They started out with small team of walkers the first year but every year the team has grown. A first grader at Butterfield School, Delaney has encouraged some of her teachers and classmates at the school to join her team in the walk this year.
Delaney’s team will be wearing tie-dyed T-shirts with a parrot on it for Cinco de Mayo.
“I want everybody to have fun wearing the T-shirts,” said Delaney.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I like walking with all of the people supporting arthritis.”
Delaney has played on a girls soccer team at the Greater Libertyville Soccer Association for the last three years and has never missed a game. She will miss her first game on Saturday because the arthritis walk falls on the same day.
In support of Delaney’s efforts, her whole team will be wearing the same tie-dyed shirts that Delaney will be wearing at the walk in place of their regular team uniforms.
Delaney’s soccer coach Russ Benton said the team wanted to show their support for her efforts to raise money for arthritis research. “It’s the first game she’s missed a game in six seasons and it’s for a great cause,” he said.
Gail Stephens, director of special events for the Lake County Arthritis Walk, said Delaney is a great youth representative for the walk. “She has a great attitude about arthritis,” she said. “She doesn’t let it define her.”
Stephens hopes to have at least 300 participants at the Libertyville walk and to raise more than $70,000 for arthritis research. Arthritis afflicts more than 50 million Americans, including 300,000 children, and is the leading cause of disability in the United States, she said.
Pre-registration for the walk is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. For more information visit http://www.arthritis.org/walk-locations/.