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Jingle all the way around campus to cure arthritis

Krisa Roggensack, Life Writer
November 27, 2012
Filed under Life

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk helps the Arthritis Foundation raise money for people with arthritis across the country. The run/walk has been held at UW-Green Bay for 15 years. This year the event is Dec. 1 with registration starting at 8 a.m. and the run/walk starting at 9 a.m.

Members of Student Life, the men’s and women’s cross country teams, the Kress Events Center and many student organizations are involved in the annual event.

Laura Libert, the director of the Arthritis Foundation in Northeast Wisconsin, has worked with people on campus to coordinate the event for several years.

“Working with Student Life, all the student organizations and the student body has been a remarkable experience,” Libert said.

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk is the Arthritis Foundation’s biggest fundraiser in Northeast Wisconsin and has served as a model for other events around the area.

All event proceeds go to help those who live with all kinds of arthritis. Programs to help people manage their arthritis, such as exercise training, Tai Chi and water aerobics, are supported with the money made from the run/walk.

The event in Green Bay is one of the most successful in the country, ranking as number 57 out of 100 for money raised thus far. Currently, Green Bay has raised $29,717, and the number is growing. The goal this year is to raise $47,100.

In the past, there have been 900 to 1,600 participants. This year Libert expects 1,000 participants. Registration is up 50 percent compared to this time last year.

Every year the run/walk has an honoree, and this year the honoree is UWGB senior Amanda Campos. Campos was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 22 months old.

“I can’t remember what life was like without it because I have had it all of my life,” Campos said.

To manage her arthritis, Campos has had to take many different medications that have different side effects. Many of these medications are immunosuppressant, meaning her immune system is weakened. She needs to be careful about getting sick because she can’t fight infections the same way other people can.

However, Campos has been able to control her arthritis and enjoy many activities.

“I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I have been able to enjoy coaching, playing soccer and many other things in life,” Campos said. “Even though arthritis has been one large speed bump I keep going over in life, having this disease has made me a stronger person.”

Campos interned with the Arthritis Foundation and realized that there are many people dealing with arthritis in the area. In Wisconsin, there are more than 6,000 children living with juvenile arthritis and approximately 294,000 children living with the disease nationwide. Many people believe arthritis only affects the elderly, but it can affect people of all ages.

People can register as an individual or with a team to participate in the 5K run/walk. Participant receive bells to place on their shoes to jingle all the way. Everyone is encouraged to dress in their best holiday getup and enjoy hot soup and refreshments after the race. Several prizes will be awarded after the event, including best costume, most team spirit and top three male and female finishers.

“It’s good to give,” said Stephanie Kaponya, program coordinator for Student Life, “and that is what students are doing while having some fun and bonding at the same time.”