North Pole, AK – Tie bells to your shoes, craft your costume, gather your loved ones, and kick off the summer with the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle in July! Run/Walk. The Arthritis Foundation’s Alaska Office is set to hold its 4th annual Jingle in July! event to benefit research, programs, and services to prevent, control and cure arthritis and related diseases. Join us as we celebrate this year’s North Pole child and adult Jingle in July! Run/Walk honorees, Tatum Weckwerth and Ian Martinez, and the thousands of other Alaska residents living with the daily pain of arthritis.
Tatum Weckwerth is this year’s Child Honoree and when you see her, you would think you were looking at a typical 10 year old. What you cannot see is the disease that is attacking her young body. Tatum has been very fortunate in that she has not experienced a flare-up or a contracture in quite some time. However, this has not always been the case. When Tatum was 1 ½ years old, her right knee collapsed and this was the first clue that there was definitely something wrong. For a baby, she had an extraordinarily difficult time getting around, and Tatum’s father, Brian, credits early detection and a religious determination in taking her daily medications with her living a normal lifestyle filled with gymnastics, sledding and playing with her dog, Binx. Tatum wants everyone to know that “It (arthritis) won’t stop you; keep on trying.”
This year’s Adult Honoree is Ian Martinez and being physically active has always been an important part of his life particularly after joining the army at 23. He loves to hunt, fish and be involved in his community by coaching his kids’ sports teams even though his daily struggle with pain can be quite debilitating at times. Ian was just recently medically retired from the army due to his arthritis. He has had arthritis since childhood during which time he experienced quite a significant amount of pain, but things seemed to get better for a while until his deployments to Iraq and the wear and tear wreaked havoc on his body. He tried to ignore the discomfort by training harder and pushing until it simply became physically impossible. Ian’s wish is for people to be mindful that pain, even though invisible, is a very real and life altering reality.
Did you know that arthritis affects 50 million adults and there are over 116,000 people living in Alaska with this disease? Did you know arthritis affects 1 in 5 Alaskans and is the number one cause of disability in children? Did you know that 800 Alaskan children are affected by arthritis? The Jingle in July Walk/Run is an event to help raise money for the AF.
The North Pole Jingle in July! Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, July 6. Festivities begin at 8:30am at the Santa Claus House. The 5K run and walk event is planned to include:
1K Children’s Fun Run with the Elves
Costume contest with prizes
Face painting and balloon artist
Fun for the whole family
Join the Arthritis Foundation on Saturday, July 6 at the Santa Claus House, and jingle towards a future free of arthritis pain. For more information about the Jingle in July! Run/Walk, please visit the website www.jingleinjuly.com or contact Anna Campione at 907-277-2784.