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Running for a Cause with Bells On

Jennifer Starr

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Why would a non-runner and (really) anti-morning person force themselves out of bed early on a weekend to brave the cold weather? Because of a cause that is dear to my heart. My mother has RA and Lupus and you can literally see the pain just by looking at her contorted fingers. Despite her struggles, she continues to sew, create intricate crafts and type on the computer. She is a very strong woman and I was proud to show my support for her and everyone else that is affected by arthritis.

A team of Intouch Associates rallied together to show their support for the cause. Despite the bitter temps outside, walkers and runners were quite comfortable inside Meritex Executive Park, an industrial cave in Overland Park that is buried about 80 feet underground.


A cave


The Arthritis Foundation’s Annual 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk was a fun and festive way to kick off the holiday. Spirited participants wore jingle bells, red and green tutus, reindeer antlers and Santa hats. Lively volunteers cheered us on throughout the event, giving us extra motivation when fatigue and sore limbs arose. Cheerful faces were evidence this cause was special to each participant and that we were all making a small difference. Overall nationwide, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk has raised over $40 million in the last decade to support arthritis research, advocacy and patient programs.

Some chose to participate in honor of a friend or family member or even because they are personally affected by arthritis. “As a person who has lived with RA for over 30 years, I’ve seen and experienced the progress in arthritis management and how people’s lives are better as a result. Plus the event was a fun and healthy way to celebrate the holiday,” said Andrea Byrne.

Others joined to show moral support. “I participated because I had a 2013 resolution to do one 5k each month and this seemed like a great one because it was indoors and I knew we had co-workers who were affected by arthritis,” said Molly Troop.

Mike Durow explained he doesn’t have any family members with arthritis. “I just really wanted to show support for the cause and have a company presence at the event.”

Debbie Smith wanted to support research efforts and help others suffering from arthritis. “We’re in this age of so many folks working on the computer and we all may be afflicted with some form of arthritis in the future due to this kind of work.”

The 25th edition of this event was the biggest in Kansas City history, attracting nearly 1,700 participants and raising more than $100,000 for the Arthritis Foundation.


Check out Intouch's participation in years' past!


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