KELLY GILFILLAN: Outside the Brentwood Bubble


KELLY GILFILLAN:  Outside the Brentwood Bubble

RHS Student Body President raises funds for Fibromyalgia
Taylor Younginer, the 2012-13 Student Body President at Ravenwood High School and newly named Homecoming Queen, has worked with two friends to organize a fundraiser for the Juvenile Pediatric Fibromyalgia Research Fund at Monroe Carrell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  The fundraiser, an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, will take place this Saturday, Oct. 6 from 5-9 pm at the RHS soccer field.

RHS Student Body President raises funds for Fibromyalgia
Taylor Younginer, the 2012-13 Student Body President at Ravenwood High School and newly named Homecoming Queen, has worked with two friends to organize a fundraiser for the Juvenile Pediatric Fibromyalgia Research Fund at Monroe Carrell Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  The fundraiser, an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, will take place this Saturday, Oct. 6 from 5-9 pm at the RHS soccer field.

“Adam Hall and Blake Pugh, helped me plan it,” said Younger.  “We kept making announcements about what it is, where it is and what it is for.  I told the council my story and they responded and got more interested.  Now we have ten teams and have closed registration but the event is open to the whole community.”

According to Younginer, the two teams to watch are the club teams for both RHS and BHS.  The other eight teams are from RHS

Taylor Younginer is quite the well-rounded young women despite fighting the painful disease of fibromyalgia.

made of people she said she just kept pestering.

“The tournament is open to the public to come and watch. Admission is $3, but all proceeds from team registration, concessions, admission, and donations will go directly back to the Juvenile Pediatric Research Fund at Monroe Carell,” shared Younginer. “Basically, I would love to have as many people there as possible not only to have a great time watching the teams, but to spread the word to as many people as possible to create the greatest impact possible.”.

Younginer, a sufferer of this disease, started having joint pain in fourth grade.  It was mechanical at that point and she and her family thought it was growing pains.  Tennis was her main sport in sixth and seventh grade playing on the middle school team and she also played soccer.  Then the pain spread to her elbows and ankles. 

“I could tell there was something different,” she explained. “Summer going in to eighth grade, I had pain just opening the refrigerator door.  I couldn’t play tennis anymore and simple things would hurt.”

She and her family knew something was wrong and were not quite sure what to do.  

A female student from Harpeth Hall visited her student council meeting to talk about Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Younginer spoke with her after the meeting about her pain and was encouraged to visit a different type of physician.  She soon went to see a rheumatoid arthritis specialist at Vanderbilt in 2008.  After an intense assessment and three months of physical therapy, she was soon diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  At one point, she was tested for leukemia and that, thankfully, was negative.

Dr. Brent Graham explained it all but what hit her the hardest was the fact that fibromyalgia is chronic.  Graham explained that neurotransmitters are misfiring pain to different parts of her body.

“There is no medicine, no treatment, and I will have it forever,” said Younginer. “ It made me really upset.  I had to quit playing tennis.  My mom said it was great I didn’t have cancer.  She was right but I wasn’t ready to hear that.”

The available medications have side effects and are generally for adults only.   Younginer suffered from migraines and insomnia.  She would often feel fatigued and even after rest would feel like she had not even gone to bed.  Medications didn’t help.

Cymbalta, an adult medication used primarily as an anti-depressant, has been used for fibromyalgia.  Taylor had side effects she described as “out of control emotions” and she began to experiment with extreme measures to hurt herself with cutting.  A good friend confronted her and forced her to tell her mother.

Younginer had reached a point of desperation where she said she realized “nothing could fix this” and she decided to share her story with other people. 

Younginer’s doctor weaned her off the medication over a two month period.  The pain began to escalate to the point where Taylor passed out at school.  She was admitted to the Vanderbilt Integrated Health Center where she took yoga and approached her health with natural processes instead of medication. 

“It got to the point where I knew there was a need and knew I was one of few who needed to do something about it,” said Younginer. “I can’t ignore it so I decided to raise funds to help my doctor get the word about so others can be diagnosed.”

Dr. Brent Graham is head of Rheumatology Department and he does the bulk of research on the subject.  He is focusing on making other doctors aware of the disease so they recognize the symptoms in the under-diagnosed population of kids.

“We need people to be aware.  You hear about cancer but you don’t know that 10 million people in the country have this disease,” she shared.  “It’s a central nervous system chronic pain disorder.  Characterized by widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body with pain points.”

Younginer says symptoms include restless sleep, fatigue, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, and more.  This is a relatively new disease having only been discovered and diagnosed in the early 90s.

The most common patients are adults 20-50.  Only three medications are approved and are not approved for juveniles.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

Related posts