Meet our Honorees
Samantha Henke, born & raised in North Dakota, enjoys living in Bismarck with her husband, Micheal, and dog, Oliver, working through her first year as a middle school Band Director. While at University of North Dakota, she started noticing knee pain and swelling after workouts, as well as a painful stiffening in her fingers while practicing her various instruments. Coinciding with episodes of low blood sugar and severe headaches, Samantha's physician assistant recommended a visit with a rheumatologist, and in the summer of 2013 she was diagnosed with moderate inflammatory arthritis. Before starting Plaquinel, Samantha spent a semester fighting through intense episodes of fatigue, and remedying her joint pain with ice and heat packs.
Being given what she felt was an embarrassing diagnosis for someone not yet 20, it was difficult to seek emotional support. Few family and even fewer friends knew, but over the years she has opened up about this disease that affects millions of Americans of all ages. Samantha and Micheal moved out of state after their wedding as he was accepted into a Physician Assistant program, graduating from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2016. Having found the right combination of medicine, diet, and lifestyle choices, she enjoys and active and busy lifestyle. Yoga has been a major component of her mental and physical health, and she teaches beginner, moderate, and advanced yoga classes at the Y.
"My faith, diet and lifestyle make all the difference for me, but also trusting my doctors and modern medicine. Having a husband in the medical field keeps us both up to date on research which makes me feel more in control of my illness than I had in the beginning. I felt confused and wronged for so long, but I know that it takes a healthy mind to be a 'Champion of Yes'!"
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Arthritis Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections.
Advocacy | Help and Support | Juvenile Arthritis | Scientific Discovery
The Arthritis Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization