Sugar House hosts annual Jingle Bell Run
Jan 06, 2020 11h15
By Jerilyn Toro
Two runners dressed as unicorns for annual Jingle Bell Run in Highland High School. (Jerilyn Toro/City Journals)
By Jerilyn Toro | [email protected]
Over 500 people signed up to raise awareness for a cure for juvenile and adult arthritis on Dec. 7 with the annual Jingle Bell Run. Adults, children and teenagers lined up for the Jingle Bell festivities at Highland High School many dressed in Santa hats or with holiday lights around their neck.
Many people think of arthritis as an older person’s disease. But, over 3,000 kids in Utah have been diagnosed with arthritis.
Aiden Hedgepeth, age 13, has been an advocate for all those affected by arthritis. He learned at 10 years old that he had a rare form of arthritis, causing among other things eye problems and joint pain. He knew that life was not just about his own physical conditions, but it was also to help those who were affected by the same disease. Aiden knew that he could help many of those who need assistance in understanding their disease and a way to fight toward a cure.
Aiden was honored at the Jingle Bell Run for raising the most money for this event.
He and his family delivered fresh sacks of potatoes to neighbors to raise enough money for this event. Aiden said, “Most of them weighed 12 to 50 pounds.” He was able to raise over $1,800 for the Arthritis Foundation. Aiden thanked everyone who attended for their support.
Many are familiar with arthritis as a disease that debilitates a person’s movement. Either the patient experiences pain or numbness. There can be limited movement of the hips or legs, hands and neck.
The Arthritis Foundation wants to help change the way the disease is diagnosed and treated. They also want to provide resources to those who are affected by various forms of arthritis.
Jessica Poff is an 18 year old who has been to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness and to find a cure for juvenile arthritis. She is working to raise enough signatures to bring a vote to the legislation committees of the need for more funding for a cure. Although she is wheelchair bound it doesn’t stop her from participating and speaking in Washington, D.C. two years in a row. She also attended this year’s Jingle Bell run to help raise signatures for their cause.
Many runners were not new to this event; many had been in attendance for over 4 to 5 years. Kaylin, Raegan, Ian, and Leya were with their parents at the starting line for the race. The children were proud that they were not only supporting their own condition but that they were helping others to get better, too.
Deb Jordan, the executive director of the Arthritis Foundation, said that this year's event had a great turn out. They had over 500 attendees, 95 volunteers and 12 sponsors who helped with this event. There were over 50 Jingle Bell Runs held at the exact same time around the country.
The Jingle Bell Run’s 5K course went from Highland High School through Sugar House Park.
For more information on this disease, visit www.arthritis.org.