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Athlete doesn't let juvenile arthritis get in his way

Throwing a football is something most young boys take for granted, but not 8-year-old Russell McKay, who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 5 years old. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Throwing a football is something most young boys take for granted, but not 8-year-old Russell McKay, of Cherokee, and his family.

"A year ago, he couldn't play sports because he hurt too bad to walk," Russell's mother, LouAnn Shaw, explained. "A year later, he's back to playing football."

"I play as running back (and) wide receiver," Russell added.

Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 5 years old, Russell is among 300,000 youngsters in this country managing the autoimmune condition that is often painful.

He collects snacks and runs to raise money for the cause, but ...

"He does have days where it does slow him down. Not many people see them because we don't go anywhere." LouAnn said. "He does have days his knees are so swollen he can't walk."

But his determination to play football, along with other sports, continues.

"I play basketball," Russell chirped.

"What else?" asked the reporter.

"Baseball and soccer," he replied.

"Russell takes four different pills a day to manage his arthritis, and he does two shots a week," LouAnn said.

And those treatments are giving him a better shot at catching a break from the disease.

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