A New Milford youth, Bryce Lewis, has been named the 2017 Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis youth honoree.

The 11-year-old was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at age 5 at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, after waking one morning and not being able to move.

Bryce and his family want to help raise awareness about JA.

“I hope I can help other kids with arthritis know that they can still be active and that together we can help to find a cure,” he said.

More than 350 walkers and runners are expected to participate in the April 30 event that will start at 9 a.m. at Immaculate High School.

The walk will feature a three-mile and one-mile course, and activities for the entire family, including a Home Depot kid’s workshop, refreshments and face painting.

In addition, local honorees will share their stories of living with arthritis.

Proceeds will support the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis.

Bryce’s team, Bryce’s Battle Droids, is named after one of his favorite movies, “Star Wars.”

In addition to raising funds for the walk, Bryce has planned two other fundraising events and an educational outreach program.

A “Star Wars” fundraiser event is planned for April 8 at 10 a.m., with doors to open at 9:30 a.m., at Bank Street Theater, and a fundraiser at Tasty Waves on Main Street is set for later that day beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at closing.

In addition, Bryce plans to donate books about JA to the library and local elementary schools, but a donation date has not been set yet.

Five months prior to Bryce’s diagnosis of JA, he was diagnosed with epilepsy after experiencing partial onset seizures.

Through both his diagnoses, Bryce remained active and still plays baseball and basketball.

“In the beginning, it was not easy,” Bryce said. “My medical challenges made it hard to run and I was not the fastest player.

“But I always try my best and I always have fun,” he said.

Bryce, who has outgrown his epilepsy, controls his JA with biologic shots.

The Lewis family has been participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis for three years.

Joining Bryce as an honoree are adult honoree Barbara Duffin of New Fairfield, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for over 10 years, and medical honoree Dr. Richard Roseff of Danbury, a rheumatologist.

More than 660,000 adults and 3,400 children in Connecticut live with arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability.

In the United States, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children live with arthritis.

Costing the U.S. economy $156 billion dollars a year, arthritis affects one in five Americans and causes more activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

The Danbury Walk to Cure Arthritis will help those living with arthritis by supporting programs, advocacy and research aimed at finding a cure.

For more information, visit www.WalkToCureArthritis.org

/Danbury.