Hang Tough Foundation, through its services and programs creates a community. Our community is made up of so many different kinds of people, each of which are vital to achieve our vision and living our mission. Explore all the ways you can engage with our organization and you’ll see we all have a role to play in serving the families of children with life-altering illnesses and special needs.
Our Volunteers are the life blood of Hang Tough.
Our Hang Tough Heroes
“Claire has always been active--enjoying Irish dancing, swimming, and bike riding. It was during an Irish dance performance last spring when the first signs of Claire's Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) became evident. Her kicks were lower and less energetic than those of the other girls and, when asked why, she said she was afraid it would hurt if she kicked higher. Months later, visiting her grandparents, she slipped and hurt herself. The fall wasn't a cause for concern until she continued to complain of pain in her legs even after a couple weeks. She was taken to her pediatrician. He became concerned immediately on seeing swelling in her thigh just above the knee. After a visit to Shands, she was diagnosed by a pediatric rheumatologist with JIA and hyper-mobility syndrome.
Some changes had to be made, including withdrawing from her Irish dance group, diet modifications, weekly physical therapy and injections, but she has remained upbeat. In looking for low impact options for activity and strengthening, swimming became an obvious choice. Claire had previously participated in ATAC and was excited to rejoin, especially when she learned that one of her coaches was also diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. That's been invaluable in terms of the encouragement she's gained by having a role model who can identify with her and who overcame her diagnosis to swim competitively.
Claire understands she has limitations on her activities, she is stronger and is learning to be sensitive to what others are going through. Her little brother and sister have learned that as well, supporting their big sister as she moves forward. We are so fortunate to be one of the 250 families that the Hang Tough Foundation supports and are encouraged by every Hang Tough Hero family we meet.”