2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees

Shannon Ward
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Teen Honoree

Shannon is an active 15-year-old with a wide variety of interests. She is an avid soccer player, participating in travel leagues and is a member of the varsity team at Patuxent High School. She has an interest in photography and enjoys being a Girl Scout. Academically, she excels, participating in all Honors and AP classes. 

Shannon’s journey with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, began at 18 months old, when her parents were alarmed to see their normally developing daughter had stopped walking. Her pediatrician initially thought that she had injured her legs, but after a few weeks of no improvement ordered a blood test, which confirmed her diagnosis. She was referred to a Rheumatologist and placed on medication to treat the disease until the age of 5, at which time she was determined to be in remission. Shannon was free of medication until age 8, at which point she complained of pain in her ankle. She went back on medication until June of 2016 when she once again in remission. In the summer of 2017 as Shannon began conditioning with her High School Soccer team, she began to experience pain in her knee.  At her annual check-up, the fluid was drained from her knee and tested.  Her arthritis was back in a new joint. Thankfully, she responded quickly to treatment and is once again off medication.  

Although she has JRA, with careful monitoring and treatment, she has been able to do those things that most 15-year-old girls enjoy, including participating in the Solomon’s Island Jingle Bell Run! She is grateful for the participation of runners in this event, as every dollar raised is important to continue the monumentally important work in which the Arthritis Foundation is engaged.

To support Shannon please click here! 

Emma Connelly
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Emma is a vibrant young girl who enjoys dancing, swimming, drawing, reading, and cooking. She also loves spending time with her Mom, her three younger sisters, and their pets - two dogs and a cat. Emma is an honor roll student in the fourth grade at the Monarch Academy in Annapolis. Three summers ago, Emma began to experience pain and swelling in her knee. At just six years old, there was no easy explanation for her symptoms. After several procedures and a series of tests, Emma was diagnosed with JIA - juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Though she is now officially in remission, Emma knows that her arthritis can always recur. She visits her rheumatologist and other doctors regularly to give her the best chance of successfully managing her condition.

To support Emma please click here! 


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