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Intouch Team Jingles for Arthritis

Andrea Byrne

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Arthritis and cold weather aren’t the friendliest companions, so it’s somewhat ironic that the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Kansas City 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk takes place in early December. On the other hand, perhaps the chilling grip on runners’ and walkers’ joints gives them a very slight idea of what morning stiffness feels like for the nearly 70 million people living with any of the rheumatic diseases labeled “arthritis.”

A team of Intouch Associates hit the pavement this past Sunday to show their support. Our exposure to plunging temps didn’t last long since we were shuttled to the race venue inside an industrial cave, where it’s a moderate 68 year-round. The atmosphere was filled with early holiday cheer as music filled the cavern where runners decked out in holiday garb stretched and friends posed for photos with Santa.

We each had our reason for participating. Holly and Rebecca, team members on a Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) product account, walked to show their support . Brianna walked in honor of her godmother/aunt who has RA and, for the first time, had to use a motorized cart to minimize pain in her feet and legs during their annual Black Friday shopping this year. Meagan walked in honor of her mom and grandma, who both have RA.

Pain may expose inner strength, but it steals quality of life.

Growing up, sisters Jackie and Joey saw how their grandmother struggled with everyday activities like opening jars and walking up stairs due to her 45-year battle with RA. They remember how she was in constant pain, but never complained. “She was the strongest person I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet,” Jackie shared.

I walked in thanksgiving. Because despite living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years, I have far less pain and far more mobility now than I did in high school and college. That was before there were treatments developed specifically for RA. I often lumbered to class with the help of crutches. Thanks to advanced therapies and hip and knee replacements, the dedication of my rheumatologist, and loads of physical therapy, I have my life back. And I am thankful.

But the fight isn’t over. Pain may expose inner strength, but it steals quality of life. So we will continue to walk and run in support of every mom and grandma and friend and cousin. They are our reasons.


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