Lucy Beth Fraser
Hi, my name is Lucy Beth Fraser. I am 16 years old from Sharon, Massachusetts. At age 2, I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis (psoriatic) and I have since also been diagnosed with crohn’s disease, osteopenia, raynaud’s syndrome, asthma, and heterotopic ossification in my jaw. Despite excellent medical care, I have never achieved remission of my arthritis and it has affected over 30 joints throughout my body. When the medications are working, I am able to participate on a competitive dance team, and be a part of my high school theatre company. Unfortunately, my disease is stubborn and refuses to leave me be so about 2-3 months of every year since I have been diagnosed, I am bound to a wheelchair or need to use assistive devices such as crutches to navigate my daily life.
I spend every day in chronic pain and am on over 20 medications to control my arthritis as well as my various other diseases. I am currently preparing for my 11th major surgery, this time on my jaw. When I was 11years old I had a complete right jaw joint replacement because my arthritis had eroded the joint, and in its place I had grown bone that fused my jaw to my skull, allowing me to only open my mouth 4 millimeters. All of these diseases and the medications that treat them cause fatigue, which means I have limited energy and I have to use what energy I do have wisely. I choose to focus my energy on school above all else because I love to learn and I dream of one day being able to help others with what I have learned.
When I am in my wheelchair, doing things like opening doors and pushing buttons can be a challenge. I aspire to be a mechanical engineer and, when I grow up, I want to work on developing mobility assist devices for people with disabilities. To do this I need to be able to go to college, which requires a lot of independence. When my disease is flaring, I struggle to maintain my independence as I need help from a parent, teacher, or friend to open doors, and to retrieve items from the floor, from heights, and from a distance (e.g. across a room). A service dog would be able to do these things for me, thereby making a huge difference in my ability to live independently and pursue my educational goals. A Service Dog would also motivate me to get up and move around, which is very important to maintain the mobility I currently have in my joints. Having a Service Dog would change my future and what I can realistically do as I continue to grow up, as well as allowing me to pursue a career that puts me in a position to help other people like me. Thank you for donating and supporting my future.