Dana Point Boy Works Hard as Arthritis Foundation Poster Child

Freckle-faced Scott Warneke, 8, was giving a good account, outlining to television viewers the problems juvenile rheumatoid arthritis has caused him since age 2. Seated next to him during the Childrens Miracle Network national telethon was his father, David Warneke, 32, of Dana Point. “Well right now I’m having some pain in my shoulder,” young Warneke replied in an easy manner to questioning from a doctor, to explain his life with painful arthritis that has affected practically every joint in his body.

Scott, who attends R. H. Dana Elementary School in Dana Point, undergoes three hours of daily therapy, including swimming.

“We go to a lot of different fund-raisers and interviews,” his father said. “Scott tends to shine behind cameras and microphones and bubbles over. He likes the extra attention. Besides, he has a good understanding of the disease in general.”

Scott is the Southern California Arthritis Foundation Poster Child for 1986.


At first, Scott’s parents had mixed feelings about that role.

“My God, we didn’t want to make a spectacle out of him,” said David, a manufacturer’s representative. “At first I didn’t want to do it, but we finally decided we couldn’t hide the fact he’s different. He’s (Scott) too smart for that.”

The Warnekes decided that “you can be different or you can be different and be special. Scott realizes that,” his mother, Lauren Warneke, 31, said.

“Scott doesn’t think of himself as handicapped and I don’t think of it that way either,” she said. “He thinks of himself as doing the best he can given what he has. I never thought of him as being that different.”


She added: “He’s a fantastic little boy and may have more going for him than normal, healthy boys.”

The need to give Scott constant attention is a way of life in the Warneke household, which includes daughter Claire, 3, who, her father said, “is perfectly healthy and has a lot of jealousy because of all the attention Scott requires.”

That attention and care leaves little time or money for themselves.

“We’ll never be wealthy,” David said. There are expenses for doctors, hospitals “and even for clothes we buy for Scott when we go to a fund-raiser,” he said. The cost of Scott’s recent four-month stay in a hospital exceeded $100,000. He said insurance covered much of that, “but our private policy has a $1-million limit, and we think half of that has already been used up.”


As he grows older, Scott will get replacement joints that were ravaged by arthritis.

The Warnekes are now working to form a family support group to help other parents faced with the same problems they experience.

“We would gather at some place like at a picnic,” David said, “to get away from the medical network. We get sick and tired of going to doctors and hospitals.”

Erika Jones, 17, of Westminster, who had never competed in a beauty contest, said “I wanted to try something different,” so she entered the Miss California American Co-ed Pageant in Los Angeles.


Hundreds entered and the final field of 192 was narrowed to 25. The judges selected Jones, a La Quinta High School senior, to wear the crown. She will now compete in August for Miss American Co-ed in Hawaii.

Marilyn Anderson, 40, of Huntington Beach was one of 1,191 to graduate from Orange Coast College, quite a feat for the mother of three who took five years to get her diploma. Her schooling was interrupted during those years by major surgery, the birth of her third child and her husband’s loss of his job.

When she got the diploma at the nighttime ceremony, witnessed by her family, it was time for celebration, especially in light of the fact that she got invitations to two parties.

Alas, there was yet another problem.


“It was after 11 p.m. and I had to get the kids in bed,” she said.

Figure this one out.

Lisa Huang, 8, released a helium-filled balloon from Serrano Elementary School in Orange with a return address card and it reached Zimbabwe, Africa, about 10,000 miles away.

An envelope containing the deflated balloon and a letter signed by the finder, Brenda Colleen Erlank, 20, posted in Africa, was sent to the school. Erlank wrote “Good luck and I hope you win something.”


“There’s no reason to doubt the letter since it came postmarked from Africa,” said school spokesperson Dena Dalzell.

“Our principal (Forrest Shattuch) even called up a television weatherman to see how the wind current ran to Africa from Orange.”

Only 12 cards from the 380 balloons released were returned to the school. Besides Africa, the farthest distance was Texas.

What did Lisa win?


They took her picture and gave her a certificate. Of course she also gained a pen pal.

Acknowledgments--Charlotte and Emil Javorik, of La Habra, who 25 years ago built together the house they still live in, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and issued the advice:

“You’ve got to work hard at marriage to make it work.”