7-year-old Valley girl battels juvenile arthritis

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At only seven years old, Sabreen is living with juvenile arthritis, something more than 300,000 kids suffers from in the U.S.

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and doctors and families like Sabreen's are asking for support and help. 

Sabreen has systemic juvenile arthritis, a disease her mother, Zulayka Martinez, says is not only painful but can potentially be deadly.

"It's in the auto-inflammatory family, versus the other JIA are autoimmune," Martinez said. "Her disease attacks all her organs."

The illness has attacked Sabreen's liver the most, her family said. It's forced them to travel for treatment.

"Her rheumatology team has reached out to Cincinnati Children's Hospital because of how complex this disease has become for her," Martinez said. 

Due to the severe inflammation that comes with juvenile arthritis, Sabreen is not growing the way she should be.

According to health experts, Hispanic and Native American girls have a higher chance of getting the autoimmune disease.

Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, and about 50 million people are undiagnosed, said Dr. Ilya Skolnikoff, a specialist in the field.

For kids like Sabreen, the disease will be an ongoing battle, one that her family hopes more people will understand and support.

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