Olga Chinka, Kent resident and local author, was recently awarded the ‘Give Me Culture Grant’ by the Kent Arts Commission and the City of Kent.

Olga was awarded the grant to help bring awareness to invisible illnesses, specifically Juvenile Arthritis and Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis (CRMO).

This program offers small grants to individuals, organizations and community groups for arts and culture projects and events that serve the public in Kent. Awards are intended to broaden participation in, and showcasing of, arts and culture activities, especially by ethnically diverse or underserved communities.

“I want to bring awareness to juvenile arthritis to the children in the Kent School District because it is a topic that is especially important in my life,” Olga told I Love Kent. “Last year my oldest daughter Abby was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. It is a rare form of arthritis involving swelling inside the bones as well as in the joints. I have spent months educating myself on the disease and believe my book presents the information in a positive way that will be easy for the children to understand.”

Financed and supported by the Kent Arts Commission, Olga says that she will purchase 140 copies of her book and distribute them among the 28 elementary schools in the Kent School District (five books per school) in the month of November. This will have the potential to reach 14,745 students.

“I will meet with the librarians and discuss having them read the book to classes along with using a provided curriculum sheet to help facilitate discussion,” she added.

She also plans to contact each teacher in the district to let them know her book is available in their library, as well as offer to do a reading for the class via Microsoft teams or Zoom.

“My goal with this project is to teach as many children as I can what juvenile arthritis is and what life looks like for someone diagnosed with an autoimmune disease,” Olga said. “My goal is to shine a light on the arthritis community and create a more inclusive environment for all through education.”

The book description is:

“Abby is a ten-year old girl who has juvenile arthritis and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis. From taking medicine to routine doctor appointments, Abby shares how her life is affected by arthritis. From good days to bad days, Abby lets other kids know that they are not alone in this diagnosis.”

‘Abby Has Arthritis’ is available online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble: