Runners jingle all the way for arthritis

Published 8:34 pm Monday, December 5, 2011

Participants in the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run on Dec. 4 covered 5 kilometers of Clanton roads with silver jingle bells attached to their shoes.

People of all ages convened at Clanton City Park for the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on Dec. 4.

This is the first year Chilton County has held the Jingle Bell Run, a national event for the Arthritis Foundation, in conjunction with the Walk for Arthritis.

“It’s worked out great,” said Anna Blanche Young of the Arthritis Foundation of Central Alabama. “We’re excited about our first turnout. We decided to change it up a little bit, get festive with it.”

Jemison residents Ali Dawson, left, and Glenda Dawson, right, brought their dog Pumpkin, 9, to walk with them in the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk for Arthritis at Clanton City Park on Dec. 4.

Registered runners and walkers pinned silver jingle bells to their tennis shoes and received a long-sleeve T-shirt.

The event included a 100-yard dash called the “Santa Chase” for children 12 and under, a 5K run/walk and a one-mile family fun run/walk.

“All three of these events (are) family-oriented,” said Pam Snow, programs and services director for the Arthritis Foundation’s Alabama and Mississippi chapters. “It’s a family disease. The person that lives with arthritis is not the only one affected. It affects the entire family.”

A 9-year-old dog named Pumpkin was a testament to Snow’s claim.

Glenda Dawson and her daughter, Ali Dawson, both of Jemison, brought Pumpkin to the park for the one-mile walk.

“She has arthritis of her hip,” Glenda said of Pumpkin. “I have arthritis, so she’s my walking buddy.”

According to the Arthritis Foundation, studies show that exercise helps reduce the pain and fatigue of many different kinds of arthritis.

Tables with free informational materials about arthritis occupied the perimeter of the track, and Christmas music played as children had their pictures made with Santa.

Kristin Whitehurst, executive director at the Arthritis Foundation in Birmingham, said about 150 people participated in this year’s walk/run.

The top fundraising team was AEMA Snowflakes. The team raised almost $1,000 for the Arthritis Foundation, and team captains were Peggy Baker, Rhonda Stange and Nell Dennis.

Extra T-shirts from Sunday’s event may be purchased for $15 at Godbee Medical Supply of Clanton.