Office of Mayor William Peduto
Mayor To Honor Young Arthritis Advocate, Declare "Arthritis Awareness Month"
Ceremony to recognize 14-year-old Rylee Laya will place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning


PITTSBURGH, PA - On Saturday, May 17th, Mayor William Peduto will declare May 2014 “Arthritis Awareness Month” in the City of Pittsburgh and present a proclamation of recognition to 14-year-old juvenile arthritis patient and advocate, Rylee Ann Laya, for her continued efforts to find a cure for arthritis.

Laya is one of 300,000 children with juvenile arthritis. Due to a lack of pediatric rheumatologists near her hometown of Rivesville, West Virginia, there are currently only 250 board-certified pediatric rheumatologists in the U.S. Laya spent  two years going to over 60 doctors’ appointments before receiving a proper diagnosis.  Rylee and her family travel nearly 200 miles to see her Pediatric Rheumatologist, Dr. Daniel Kietz, at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – UPMC.  The four doctors in the division see many kids from West Virginia and the surrounding region.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Since her diagnosis, Laya has been an advocate for those living with arthritis - sharing her story of living with the painful symptoms and the challenges that patients face. In March 2014, Laya joined with hundreds of other Arthritis Foundation advocates on Capitol Hill to represent the 52 million Americans living with arthritis. They asked Congress to support people with arthritis through policies that will ensure increased research, better treatments and greater access to care. They also asked Congress to support a Pediatric Sub-Specialty Loan Repayment program (H.R. 1827) and the Patients Access to Treatment Act (H.R. 460).

In addition to being an advocate, Rylee Laya has done a great deal of fundraising for the Arthritis Foundation through the Pittsburgh Foundation’s “Day of Giving” and the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis.

In recognition for continued efforts in bravery, advocacy and fundraising, the Arthritis Foundation will honor Rylee Laya at the Walk to Cure Arthritis, May 31.


Who: Mayor William Peduto

What: Proclamation Presentation/Month of Recognition Ceremony

When: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 17th

Where: Mayor’s Office - Mayor’s Conference Room

414 Grant Street, 5th Floor

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Friday, May 16, 2014
Katie O'Malley
Communications Coordinator
Cell: (412) 925-1990

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