Last Saturday, a group of WestCMR employees participated in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run. The 5K “fun run” raises funds and awareness to cure Arthritis, which is the #1 cause of disability in America. This year the event raised almost $56,000, and 100% of the money raised will go towards Arthritis research.
While the weather was overcast and rainy in the early morning, this didn’t discourage hundreds of dedicated runners and walkers from arriving in festive attire on the USF campus lawn. An energetic DJ mixed holiday tunes over several loud speakers, and participants sipped hot chocolate ahead of the start of the race. Amongst the runners, several reindeer, elves and Santa Clauses could be seen stretching and warming up with jumping jacks. There was a costume contest before the race, and more than a few people were in the running for the prize.
A few minutes before the run began, the event coordinator introduced a few special guests and asked them to speak about their personal experiences with Arthritis. While many of us associate the disease with the elderly, Arthritis affects children and young adults as well. We heard from an 8-year-old girl with Juvenile Arthritis, and a woman in her 20s who has struggled with the disease for years. It was an impactful morning. I’m grateful to WestCMR for sponsoring this event and supporting Arthritis research.