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Natalie Decker helps raise funds and awareness for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Eagle River's Natalie Decker is the only female driver in the NASCAR Xfinity cup series this year.

Before battling other drivers though, she was fighting something else.

"I was so nervous to share my story," said Decker. "I didn't want people to look at me different or think I was weak or treat me different."

It's a thought that Decker knew so many like her experience, which is why she decided to use her platform to share her story.

"I was born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an auto immune disease," she explained.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects roughly 50,000 children in the United States. It's characterized by joint pain and stiffness that can last a lifetime.

"I know what those kids go through," revealed Decker. "I was that age. I'm still going through it. There's no cure for it."

Which is why since gaining the courage to share her story, Decker has organized several fundraisers to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

"To be able to give back and see all the good things that the Arthritis Foundation does for these young kids makes me so happy," she said through a smile. "I just want to make a difference and be a role model for everybody. To hopefully change somebodies life."

She hopes as she takes the track at Talladega on Saturday, she can give others struggling the courage to follow their dreams.

"You can still reach for your dreams," said Decker. "Go for it and don't let it hold you back. I'm living proof that I can go out and achieve my goals."

You can learn more about Decker and her fundraising efforts at

Alex Stewart

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