HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Dozens of runners and walkers took to the streets of Halfmoon for the annual Jingle Bell Run. The event raises money for the Arthritis Foundation, with money raised by individuals and teams, as well as registration fees, benefitting the organization.
Those participating got into the holiday spirit with seasonal costumes and jingle bells, with over $32,000 already raised up until this point.
“We’ll be able to put on different educational opportunities through people with Arthritis Foundation, as well as engage with people in the community who are not being reached,” said Ema Buco, a board chair for the Arthritis Foundation Northeastern New York Chapter.
Funds will also help critical programs while raising awareness about the leading cause of work disability in the United States.
“One in four adults live with arthritis and over 300,000 children. I think that they live silently and we’re trying to bring a voice and help them have a voice,” Rainbow Doemel, the Executive Director of the Arthritis Foundation Northeastern New York Chapter, explained.
For Doemel, being part of this cause is personal. 17 years ago, her daughter was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at just 18-months-old.
“My first phone call was to the Arthritis Foundation for support and help, and they were amazing to me,” she said.
The event aims to bring attention to the impact arthritis can have on younger people like Doemel’s daughter, as well as this year’s youth honoree Kensley Bates.
“When I was like 5 I could barely walk and I had to hobble around my house. It was really annoying and frustrating,” she said.
Now, years later, she’s running with her friends with help from the Arthritis Foundation, “I play a lot of sports and can run and play at recess and stuff like that.”