ATLANTA, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk returns this holiday season to raise funds and awareness for the nation's leading cause of disability. In more than 150 cities across the nation, thousands of people will take to the streets in honor of the 50 million adults and 300,000 children living with arthritis in the U.S.
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"Arthritis isn't what people think. I was diagnosed when I was two, and really, I've been hurting ever since," said 2011 national top fundraiser, Ali Richard. "It affects parts of my body that would be hard for people without arthritis to imagine, like not ever being able to bend my wrist back or sit on my heels."
Richard is now 24 years old and has arthritis in 22 of her body's joints. For Richard, and millions of other people living with this debilitating disease, it can be difficult to participate in holiday activities, like carving a turkey or wrapping gifts.
"I wanted to get involved and do everything I can to help raise funds to support medical research. Most importantly, I want to get the message out that arthritis is not just a disease that affects older people," said Richard. "The Jingle Bell Run has allowed me to share my story with my friends, family, co-workers and even acquaintances that may have been previously misinformed about the disease."
Since 1984, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk has been an outlet for nearly two million participants across the country to help raise funds for arthritis research, education and community programs.
"Arthritis currently costs the U.S. economy nearly $128 billion annually and the prevalence of arthritis is continuing to soar rapidly," said Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health, Dr. Patience White. "It is estimated that by 2030, nearly 67 million people will be affected by this disease, unless we reverse this trend."
The Jingle Bell Run/Walk is a fun and festive event where families, neighbors and co-workers come together in holiday-inspired attire for 3.2 miles of running, walking and sharing holiday spirit in an effort to raise funds and awareness for arthritis.
As the national sponsor of the Jingle Bell Run/Walk , the global healthcare company, Abbott, is proud to once again support activities focused on improving awareness and education.
"Abbott has a long history of supporting the Arthritis Foundation's efforts to educate communities across the country about this debilitating disease," said Jim Salanty, divisional vice president/general manager, U.S. Rheumatology, Proprietary Pharmaceuticals Division, Abbott. "This event is a great way to elevate awareness of the disease while providing an interactive event for patients and community members to participate in and support this important cause."
To find and register for the event in your community, visit www.arthritis.org/jbr.
About the Arthritis Foundation
Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation's leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of this serious disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.
SOURCE Arthritis Foundation