James Swanson was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis (JA) at the age of nine after an excruciating night of pain while on vacation with his family. Living with juvenile arthritis has taught James the power of positive thinking and how to turn obstacles into solutions and lessons.

“When I was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, my world was flipped upside down. I had no real support system. I was exposed to the idea that I was absurd. I didn’t like telling people, because I didn’t want the attention. I felt like there were people who are facing terminal situations. It wasn’t till my college biology studies that I realized solving my problem could lead me to solve other problems and help more people.”

Wanting to help others with JA, James reached out to Juvenile Arthritis Association (JAA) with a bold plan to raise awareness and funds — and, most importantly, to show kids, teens and young adults with JA that the disease does not define who you are.

Starting today, July 23, 2017, James will get on his mountain bike and compete in The Colorado Trail Race, a 500+ mile trek that will take him from Denver to Durango in beautiful Colorado. Riding the trail is not an easy feat — with or without JA — as it traverses several mountain passes and reaches over 13,000 feet in elevation.

The ride typically takes nearly a week to complete, and JAA will be posting about James’ progress as he makes his way to Durango. To support James and the 300,000 kids with juvenile arthritis to whom he dedicates his ride, please do one or more of the following:

1) Make a tax-deductible donation to Juvenile Arthritis Association using the donate button on our facebook page or our website.

2) Send encouragement to James on our social media.

 Use the hashtag #CTR4JAA

Facebook: facebook.com/juvenilearthritis

Twitter: @JAAssn

Instagram: jaassociation

3) Share our social media posts this week to help bring awareness to juvenile arthritis!

More about James

When he’s not training on his bike, James —through his company, Utility Advertising — helps individuals, brands, and nonprofits scale their operations by developing innovative communication strategies and action steps to reach their customers.


James’ ride is made possible due to the generosity of the following sponsors.

VASA Fitness
“VASA was my first real sponsor. Their belief in helping people accomplish great feats shows their commitment to improving the lives of individuals that want to be better.”

Swanson Pro Clean
“Swanson Pro Clean is my main emergency support along the trail. They will carry repair supplies, some food, and will be my contact for communication. At the end of the trek they will also be my ride home.”

The Colorado Trail Foundation
“It is my belief that people care more about things they are involved in because they have a vested interest. I am grateful for the opportunity to ride and experience the natural beauty of Colorado.  The resources they create are not only important to understanding the route, but also the historical and biological foundation of the environment.”


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