After being diagnosed at the age of 12 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, the hospital was Kara’s second home. Kara doctored at Children’s Hospital in Omaha. It took many months before they could diagnose Kara, as she was a false negative on the test. This was a long and very frustrating time, because they had to go through many different kinds of medicine and injections before finding some that worked about a year later. It was also a scary time for her. However, the nurses would always be there to comfort her and let her know that everything was going to be okay.
Since that moment, Kara knew she wanted to make a difference. She later organized fundraisers by herself – making over $1,000 that went towards the Arthritis Foundation in Nebraska. The next summer, she got together with a 7-year-old girl that also lived in Greeley and was struggling with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and held another fundraiser. Together they raised over $1,000. Kara then became an arthritis advocate for the Community Health Charities of Nebraska. She traveled around Nebraska to different companies telling her story about managing her life and overcoming daily obstacles with this horrible disease.
Currently, Kara takes four pills per day and a shot twice a month. She had many setbacks in school and had many hard days where it took her three times as long to get out of bed and to school. Some days she couldn’t even hold a pencil in class and was very dependent on using her computer. However, Kara’s school was very helpful in making accommodations for her. She was awarded the D.J.’s Hero Awards scholarship. The scholarship is unique as it honors the “unsung hero” who has overcome challenges and demonstrated leadership. Kara has also been accepted to Nebraska Methodist College – a very competitive private nursing college. Her goals are to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then go on to become a pediatric oncology nurse and get a job in a children’s hospital. Kara wants to help change kids’ lives like Children’s Hospital changed hers in a positive manner.