Team USA diver from The Woodlands fights juvenile arthritis

A high school student from The Woodlands is taking his diving experience to new heights by raising awareness about juvenile arthritis. He has undergone treatment for it most of his life! We caught up with him when he had his last competition at the University of Houston.

Lawson Greenwald doesn't make much of a splash in the pool, because of his precise skills as a member of the U.S.A. Diving Team, but he is making quite a splash for the Arthritis Foundation, by serving as their youth ambassador. "It feels good. I'm so happy to be part of the foundation," says Lawson.

Kristen Stubbs is the Executive Director and is thrilled to have Lawson on board. "We chose Lawson to be our 2024 'Champion of Yes' Honoree. It's a year-long campaign that we are working with the Greenwald's to really promote arthritis awareness," says Kristen.

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That awareness includes helping others with arthritis say YES, not no, to life, because of challenges from the condition. Lawson has learned how to work through the pain, after being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when he was only a toddler. It's the most common form of arthritis in children. It causes joints to swell and for Lawson, that's his knee. Even with treatments, it can be tough to deal with.

"I remember when I was 8, the pain was really bad. It was horrible, the pain was always bad," recalls Lawson. Lawson's parents have helped him find all types of therapies through the years, from an irritating leg brace to different medications.

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He has finally found a treatment, that involves two injections per month, that helps provide relief. Now he's using his platform to encourage others through the Arthritis Foundation to keep looking for the right help. "It's just amazing to see the doctors, the community, his family come together, and make it so that he can live life without limits. He can be this champion of yes, he can dive off the rafters into a swimming pool and not hurt himself. You know, I mean, it's just it's amazing and very, very inspirational," states Kristen.

Lawson also suggests anyone in pain to find something you're passionate about to help keep your mind off it. It sure has worked for him by doing something that comes naturally to him.

"I used to live in Arkansas and there were these cliffs that I would just go jump off every single day in the summer and I always loved flipping, and then when we moved here, I just wanted to try it. My dad did it when he was younger," exclaimed Lawson. "He put me in the sport and instantly I got moved up to the national team after training every day and it was something I loved. It was what I was supposed to do."


Kristen says this is proof that others with arthritis can live like Lawson without limits. "We have so many resources to help them with pain management, exercise, eating properly, the whole gamut," affirms Kristen.

Lawson sure has a bright future. He's committed to diving for Auburn University in 2025 and is working hard to make the U.S. Olympic team by his junior year in college.

You can join Lawson's team this weekend at the Walk to Cure Arthritis in Houston. It's Saturday, May 4, at Buffalo Bayou Trail downtown. Find out more at the Walk to Cure Arthritis website.