The Arthritis Foundation is on a mission — to find a cure for America’s No. 1 disability, arthritis. Its mission extends to fight against arthritis with resources, science, advocacy and community connections.

To support its mission, the 29th annual Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run kids fun run, 5K run and 1-mile walk will be Sunday, Dec. 8, at Kankakee Community College.

Jingle all the way to a cure and have a great time every step during this fundraising event.

Because of the vital role the Arthritis Foundation plays and the importance of arthritis research, doctors and staff at OAK Orthopedics in Bradley and Frankfort joined the fight. The OAK Orthopedics team, “OAK Jingle Joggers,” of nearly 20 runners and walkers are participating.

Two years ago, OAK Orthopedics CEO Paige Cripe wanted to get involved in supporting the Arthritis Foundation.

“We see so many patients with arthritis. It impacts so many people in the community,” said Cripe, who will participate in the competitive walk.

And this year’s Kankakee Jingle Bell Run Medical Honoree is Dr. Rajeev Puri, a board-certified, fellowship-trained hip, knee, foot and ankle surgeon at OAK Orthopedics.

“I have seen how the Foundation helps many of my patients who are struggling with arthritis,” Dr. Puri said. “Through the partnership between OAK Orthopedics and the Arthritis Foundation, OAK is able to provide consistent education and medical care to its patients.”

Dr. Puri’s physicians assistants Randi Fabsits and Devon Saini say are looking forward to the 5K race and supporting the foundation.

“Almost all of our patients have some form or arthritis,” Fabsits said. “It’s about giving back.”

Saini added, “It’s all about raising awareness. The Arthritis Foundation funds research to treat arthritis, which is so important to our patients.”

In addition to the Jingle Bell Run, each of OAK’s 12 doctors raised funds — with the help of their patients. During November, OAK doctors and the CEO participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Each doctor had a donation jar and patients could make donations in support of their favorite doctor.

Up until the final minutes of the contest, Dr. Michael Corcoran, Dr. Tom Antkowiak and Dr. Carey Ellis were tied for first with the most amount of funds donated.

But, according to OAK Orthopedics market development director Sherri Guertin, a sealed envelop was given to OAK Orthopedics with instructions to open it at 4:59 p.m. the day the contest ended, Nov. 26. Inside that envelop — $1,000 toward the donor’s favorite doctor, Dr. Puri.

In the end, $3,000 was raised through the Ice Bucket Challenge.

As winner of the contest, Dr. Puri will have a bucket of ice poured over his head and a video of the challenge will be posted on the OAK Orthopedics Facebook page.

“From Day 1, patients participated,” Guertin said. “It was such a fun challenge for a great cause.”

To support and participate in the Jingle Bell Run, register online by Dec. 5 at noon or sign up the day of the event at 7:30 a.m.

Opening ceremonies begin at 8 a.m. A Kids Fun Run and Santa Chase for children 12 and younger begins at 8:30 a.m. The 5K run and 1-mile walk will begin at 9 a.m.

The post race awards ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m.

During the Jingle Bell Run, all participants will receive a finisher medal. Medals also will be given to the top three male and female timed finishers in each age group in both the 5K and 1-mile competitive walk.

Participants are encouraged to dress in holiday costumes and gear. Prizes in the costume contest will be awarded to a team and individual winners.

One hundred percent of Jingle Bell Run registration fees and fundraising go to support the organization’s mission. Since 1991, more than $600,000 has been raised to support the Arthritis Foundation. This year’s Kankakee Jingle Bell Run fundraising goal is $31,000.

Those who can’t attend the event but still want to be part of the fun can “Jingle in their Jammies.” Choose a $30 donation option and receive a T-shirt.

To register for the event or to make a donation, visit events.arthritis.org.

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