ANMC teams host and rally others to support Alaska Native youth at Camp ARCTIC

Posted on September 4, 2012 in Events

In August, the ANMC staff from ANTHC and Southcentral Foundation joined community partners, corporate sponsors and volunteers to host the first Camp ARCTIC (ARthritis Can’t Tame my Independence and Courage), a free summer camp for Alaska youth with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The three-day camp was organized by the Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic at ANMC and led by Camp Fire at Kenai Lake. Sixteen children and their parents were able to participate this year, including Alaska Native children and families from villages like Savoonga, Kasigluk and Aniak.

Camp ARCTIC supports youth with rheumatoid arthritis by providing an opportunity to meet, share strategies and form friendships with others affected by similar arthritis diagnoses. Juvenile arthritis is a long-term chronic disease affecting joints. Symptoms usually occur before the age of 16 but can appear in infants as young as six months and may include extreme pain and swelling, fevers and rashes. Various types of arthritis affect children, but rheumatoid arthritis can be one of the most debilitating diagnoses. The cause of arthritis in children is unknown, and, currently, there is no cure. In Alaska, access to arthritis treatment can be difficult. There are no pediatric rheumatologists in the state, so specialists travel to Anchorage from Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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Camp ARCTIC organizers thank all volunteers and sponsors, including: Dr. Peggy Schlesinger, pediatric rheumatologist; Dr. John Botson, adult rheumatologist; Dr. Tom Mader, ophthalmologist; Brendan Smith, web designer; Tracie Wright, RN case manager for the ANMC Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic; Sherrie Struckman, case management support for the ANMC Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic; Sandy Haldane, Director of ANMC Maternal Child Health Service Line; Carrie Brown and Trina Brosnan, Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation; Kate Nelson, RN case manager for The Children’s Hospital at Providence Rheumatology Clinic; Shea Brumley, clinical dietician from Central Peninsula Hospital; Dr. Doug Eby, Vice President of Medical Services at Southcentral Foundation; Mark Kelty, ANTHC Risk Manager and Interim Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer; Barbara Jones, Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region; and Camp Fire staff. A special thank you to Eryn Eby, who organized the camp and served as a role model for all of the camp kids.

Camp ARCTIC is free to participants and supported by ANMC, ANTHC’s Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, The Children’s Hospital at Providence, Rasmuson Foundation, Pfizer and Genentech.

For more information on Camp ARCTIC, visit