MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -On St. Charles Avenue in Montgomery Meredith Burtron is stepping into something that is so much bigger than her. "I plan to keep moving," said Burtron.
In more ways than one, walking toward the goal of raising $100,000, and moving to keep her body limber, anything to ward off the pain of juvenile arthritis.
"Arthritis hurts and it hurts a lot. I can't get out of bed sometimes," said Burtron.
Chuck Burtron admitted he didn't quite know what to make of his daughter's ambitions when the family had its annual meeting around the table to talk about goals for the new year. That was back in December.
"I chuckled but the more I thought about it, I thought 'why not?' What is the worst thing that could happen.. fail by trying? We decided to go for it," Burtron said.
And going for it is precisely what Meredith has done since January. All the money she collects she says:
"It will go into medicine and research," said Burtron.
Meredith Burtron thought at best she would have a few hundred dollars by now. As of this writing she has turned over $20,000 to the Arthritis Foundation Southeast Region in Montgomery.
"I'm very surprised," said Mr. Burtron.
"I am thrilled that I've gotten that much from just talking to people," said Meredith Burtron.
Meredith talks to area civic clubs and she's had a few individual donors come through as well.
Although she's only 10 Meredith Burtron gives the impression she's wise beyond her years, choosing to accept her illness as a blessing, a platform to help others who are hurting, too.
"I feel good about it. I could moan about it or accept it and I choose to accept it because I see some of my friends with arthritis who are limping. I hope this will help future generations," said Burtron.
Juvenile arthritis afflicts around 50,000 children in the United States, and it's the most common form of arthritis in children under 16.
You can learn more about Meredith's story on her website at www.joinmeredith.com
Meantime, this isn't the first time Meredith Burtron has shed some light on juvenile arthritis. She walked in the foundation's Jingle Bell Run last year, crossing the finish line and jumping into the arms of her dad.
"I am proud of what we're doing," said Meredith.
Soon she hopes to be racing for a cure.