Young gymnast with arthritis to join Jingle Bell Run/Walk - WSMV Channel 4

Young gymnast with arthritis to join Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Franklin

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Caroline Scheuremann Caroline Scheuremann
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

It's a disease that affects so many. One in five Tennesseans suffers from some form of arthritis. And as common as it is, it's still shocking to see in children.

But a young Fairview girl is fighting and winning her battle with arthritis.

Caroline Scheuremann doesn't look sick. She is the All-American girl, but sometimes looks can be deceiving. She has lived 12 years of real pain.

When she was 2 years old, it began as a painful, swollen toe. At 4 years old, it was pain in a knee. And by the time she was 5, she would be doubled over in pain.

"She couldn't attend school. She couldn't last a day. She couldn't ride in a car without wincing at bumps in the car. It was in every major joint. It was in her neck, in her jaw, her elbows, knees, fingers, toes," said mother Lori Scheuremann.

It's hard to imagine, but that same girl is now a 12-year-old competitive gymnast with goals that reach to the Olympics.

"It's so fun just being able to do that and knowing there are people like me that can't do it, so I just want to be one of those girls that can just - one day I'll do something great and be recognized for it. People will be like, 'Wow, she has arthritis?'" Caroline Scheuremann said.

Make no mistake, this little girl still suffers pain - crippling pain sometimes.

"Especially at the gym and at school some of the times when I get up, and my joints are horrible. I try not to show it, and I have a smile on my face. My jaw doesn't hurt, and I'm thankful for that," Caroline Scheuremann said.

It's a remarkable attitude from a young soul who knows what it would be like without her arthritis treatments.

"I would be in so much pain, I would be immobilized, probably laying in my bed and getting a home school class on a laptop," she said.

Caroline will be running in the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk in downtown Franklin. It's the Arthritis Foundation's biggest fundraiser of the year and is set for Dec. 7 at 9 a.m.

There is still time to sign up. Just visit: http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1069687.

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