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Published October 11, 2013, 06:52 PM

Arthritis Foundation pushes for new Minnesota camp for children and teens living with arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation is taking steps to help children and teens living with arthritis get to know others dealing with the same disorder in our region.

The Arthritis Foundation is taking steps to help children and teens living with arthritis get to know others dealing with the same disorder in our region.

Arthritis is more common than you might think -- it affects 300,000 children nationwide. A new camp in Minnesota will bring those people together, allowing them to identify with one another.

Tori Byklum is your typical teenager, a young soul, with big dreams.

"I want to be either a rheumatologist or a doctor of some sort," says Tori.

She wants to leave behind a legacy to help people who live with arthritis each and every day just like her.

Tori: "Most people think of arthritis like you can't move and you're always stiff and stuff, and most of the kids that I know are active and do sports and all that."

She was diagnosed with the disorder when she was just five years old.

"I couldn't ride my bike, I had to push it. And I couldn't open the door, so I had to pound on it. And then I was laying in bed and my neck started hurting and like my legs and fingers," said Tori.

Tori "I've met a lot of new friends there and you don't feel like you're an outsider like you do when you go to other camps, like you're the only person. Because everybody there has arthritis."

Next summer a brand new camp is opening much closer to home in Maple Lake, Minnesota.

"The camp offers swimming, horseback riding, arts and crafts, sailing, fishing... All the great things that are involved in a summer camp," said Kelly Brekke with the Arthritis Foundation.

The new camp is modeled after the other camp in Wisconsin.

Kelly: "All the camp counselors are former campers, so they can share their experiences with the new campers."

Tori: "They understand in the morning if you're stiff or if you're just not feeling well."

Kelly: "It's the friendships that are formed that bring the campers back."

The new camp, Camp Cambria, is about an hour northwest of Minneapolis in Maple Lake, not to be confused with Maple Lake just east of Grand Forks. It will include a bus service from Fargo, so all the campers can ride down together.

Saturday is world arthritis day and Stacie and Molly will be attending the Arthritis Walk at Choice Health and Fitness. Registration begins at 8:30 AM.

If you'd like to know more about the event or about the arthritis camps, visit these links:

Arthritis Walk

Camp Cambria

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