Thursday, July 15, 2010

ANRF rings the NASDAQ opening bell!

On Thursday July 8th, I participated in the NASDAQ’s opening bell ceremony in Times Square in honor of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. It was an honor for me, as a national spokesperson and Board member for the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF), to join Executive Director Helene Belisle and other youth with juvenile arthritis as well as medical professionals. Among them were Shaun-Marie Robbins (age 30), who lives in Hamilton and was diagnosed at 1 ½ years old, and Carrick Porter, a teenager who has juvenile arthritis and lives in Hopewell. 

Photo of Kelly Rouba with Shaun-Marie Robbins (on right) and William Scannon, Rouba’s neighbor and the inspiration behind ANRF’s Marathon for a Cure program.

At the ceremony, NASDAQ officials and Belisle spoke about The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research. Each year, ANRF awards this $75,000 grant to a scientist studying a cure for juvenile arthritis. Interestingly, the researcher who received the grant this year would not have been able to continue her work without the funding.

The general public is still largely unaware that children and even infants can get arthritis, not to mention how damaging it can be. I am very grateful that NASDAQ chose to highlight the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s efforts to find a cure and further awareness by inviting us to participate in their opening bell ceremony during Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. It was an amazing experience.

For more information, visit or call Derek Belisle, marketing assistant for ANRF, at 800-588-2873.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Iron Cupcake Challenge supports The Kelly Award

On July 7th, 2010, I had the honor to be a judge at the Kati's Kupcakes Iron Cupcake Challenge at The Pop Shop in Collingswood.  The monthly event started by Kati Angelini, talented cupcake designer and founder of Kati's Kupcakes in Moorestown, benefits a different charity each month. This month, The Kelly Award and ANRF were the fortunate recipients in honor of July as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. I want to give an extra special thank you to challenge winner Deanna Gordon who donated her prize money to The Kelly Award as well. 

Check out some of highlights from the event below. For more info about the Iron Cupcake Challenge, visit the event group site:

Visit Kati's business site,, and prepare to be in awe of her talent when you view her cupcake gallery at her Flickr page.

For more information about ANRF and how you can support The Kelly Award, visit

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My 30th Birthday Bash & Benefit

Please allow me to express a very heartfelt thank you to all who made my 30th birthday benefit so special on Friday evening. It was a night I will never forget (wink!), and I was so honored that Helene Belisle, executive director of the Arthritis National Research Foundation, flew out from California to take part in the event. Helene is one of the most compassionate people I know and has truly welcomed me into the ANRF family. I always know I can turn to my “West Coast Mom” for advice and support—and for that, I am grateful.

Helene’s son Derek Belisle, who handles marketing for the foundation, also surprised me by flying out for the benefit. In spite of the many miles between us, Derek has become one of my best friends. After months of teasing me that he wouldn’t be able to make it out to Atlantic City for my party, it made for perhaps the best surprise ever when he actually showed up and played a very touching video on The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research on top of it. My favorite part of the video was the message from Dr. Susannah D. Brydges, who received this year’s grant of $75,000. The project she is working on is amazing and she wouldn’t have been able to continue her work without this grant, which gave me chills when I found out. 

I am also very grateful to all who donated services and/or goods to help make the benefit such a success. (See list below.) A big thank you goes to Donna McCarthy, general manager of Gallagher’s Steakhouse and Burger Bar at Resorts Casino, for donating the space and food. Also, thank you to Dan Baker and The Raven Rock Rounders for providing the terrific bluegrass music and to Phil Cardon from Everyday Gourmet & Cakes  for the fabulous birthday cake!!! I have never seen such a beautiful—yet delicious—work of art! 

And I truly appreciate the generosity of those who donated to The Kelly Award for Juvenile Arthritis Research as well. The award (named after me) offers a rare opportunity to fund juvenile arthritis research. Sadly, most drug companies and other entities only want to spend research dollars on drugs for adults since the numbers are greater. However, having lived with JA since I was two, I will do everything in my power to see that no other child or teen has to suffer as I did. And while treatments have come a long way, they still have a long way to go. Please consider supporting The Kelly Award and helping the Arthritis National Research Foundation in its mission to find better treatments and hopefully even a cure. Thank you!

A special thanks to the sponsors:
Venue & Food: Gallagher's Steakhouse at Resorts Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City
Cake: Everyday Gourmet & Cakes, Ogden, UT
Balloons: Chester's Plants & Flowers, Atlantic City
Entertainment: Raven Rock Rounders

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New ANRF Video: "Save me a dream"

A Message from Derek Belisle from the Arthritis National Research Foundation: 

Over 46 million Americans suffer from arthritis, 300,000 of them are children.  Most people think that arthritis only affects older people, but that just is not the case.  Please help make everyone aware of Juvenile Arthritis and forward this to your friends and family. 

For more information visit
To see more videos visit

Friday, February 5, 2010

My tribute at Hamilton Physical Thearpy

In January, Hamilton Physical Therapy honored me for my accomplishment in disability and arthritis awareness, by hanging my photo in their lobby. Here I am with my physical therapist Allison Davis-Papi who is also in my book. 

Tell OPRAH that you want me on her show to help spread awareness about JUVENILE ARTHRITIS!