Tate Marcotte is not the face you would think of when you think of arthritis.
Tate, 9, is a fourth-grader at St. George School. He plays on a 12-and-under Legion soccer team, where he is one of the youngest players. He plays basketball with the Bourbonnais Township Park District, and he is a first baseman in Little League.
And, he has a rare form of migratory arthritis. Basically, Tate is a normal, healthy child. The arthritis flares up when he has a cold. Then it is miserable.
"No one else in the family has this," said his mom, Judi Marcotte. "And we had never heard of it before he was diagnosed with it."
Tate will be this year's youth honoree at the annual Jingle Bell Run, the area's largest fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. This year's event will be at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Kankakee Community College. Funds raised benefit treatment and research into arthritis. Register or get information at JBR.org/Kankakee. People can register as individuals, form a team or just donate.
Now in its 27th year locally, the event already has raised $19,900 this year. You can contribute directly to Tate's team, Can't Stop Tate, by logging in at the website and going to "view all teams" on the right.
As the youth honoree, Tate will help start the runners, competitive walkers and fun walkers by sounding the siren on a Kankakee Fire Department ambulance.
Then, Tate will hop down off the ambulance and join the runners himself. He ran in the race last year, earning "a second or third" in his age group. While 1 in 4 Americans will have some form of arthritis as bones and joints age, more than 300,000 children also have different types of arthritis.
Tate took up running a couple of years ago, following the example of neighborhood friend, Tara DePoister, who is two years older. He proved to be a quick learner. In addition to the Jingle Bell, he's run in the Kilbride Family Classic, winning his age group.
Tate is the tallest child in his class. He's fond of Legos and Batman; likes to draw and swim; and as a child from a farm family, loves the four-wheel Gator and the Polaris Ranger. His favorite subjects are math and lunch.
Tate has three siblings: Alexa, 22, who lives in Oregon; Chance, 21, studying agriculture at Parkland College; and Kamden, 14, a freshman at Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School. His father, Mike Marcotte, farms soybeans and corn. Mom, Judi, tends to the nursery at church for the United Church of Christ.