Aubriana Gonzalez with her dog, Buddy, who has been a great support for her and stayed at her side when she was unable to walk.

Racers of all ages will soon be gearing up in their favorite holiday costumes, along with lacing up their sneakers as they aim to cross the finish line during the Arthritis Foundation’s annual Jingle Bell Run on Saturday, December 7, at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

With this fundraising event, individuals can participate in the 5K untimed, 5K chip-timed, a Kids Run and a 1-Mile Fun Run or Walk. Besides the race, other festivities will also be available, such as entertainment, a kids’ zone, food and beverages and more.

Arthritis Foundation Development Director of Tampa Sherry Yagovane explained where 100 percent of these proceeds go to.

“The funds raised will support our Live Yes! Network events, educational programs and send children to summer camp,” Yagovane said. “We also fund research for better treatments, cures and assist patients with access to treatments through advocacy on a state and federal level.”

In 1948, the Arthritis Foundation became established. Arthritis, also known as joint disease or joint pain, can affect individuals of all ages. In fact, 300,000 children and more than 50 million Americans are diagnosed with it, according to the Arthritis Foundation. To add, arthritis is considered the leading cause of disability in America.

A couple of families shared how the Arthritis Foundation assisted them and their loved ones. For example, Tracey Corn’s two daughters suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. She also has volunteered with the Arthritis Foundation for more than 10 years.

“This foundation means so much to our family as it provided educational resources and more,” Corn said.

Carrie Shank also stated her appreciation for the foundation, as her daughter, Aubriana Gonzalez, has suffered from JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) since the age of 2. Gonzalez was selected to be this year’s Jingle Bell Run Youth Honoree.

“I am passionate about this cause, and as a parent I do not feel alone on this journey with the foundation being such a great educational tool for myself, family and friends,” Shank said.

To register for the walk, visit https://events.arthritis.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=930.

For more information, contact Yagovane at 467-7520.