2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Dr. Jeffrey Silverstein
Medical Champion

 Dr. Silverstein is a Board Certified and Fellowship Trained orthopedic surgeon who treats both adult and pediatric patients. His expertise covers orthopedic trauma of the upper and lower extremities, hip and knee joint arthritis, and sports medicine injuries.

Originally from West Virginia, Dr. Silverstein received his Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University and his Medical Degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine.He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago, followed by additional fellowship training at the Florida Orthopedic Institute in Tampa, FL.

Dr. Silverstein is trained in the latest orthopedic care of traumatic fractures. For patients with hip and knee arthritis, he offers both non-surgical and surgical options. Non-surgical options include physical therapy, custom bracing, medication management, cortisone and gel injections, platelet rich plasma (PRP), and stem cell therapies. When his patients require hip and knee replacement surgeries Dr. Silverstein may perform less invasive techniques including muscle sparing incisions, partial knee replacements, custom patient specific implants, and robotic assisted surgeries. 

During the course of his medical training, Dr. Silverstein was awarded numerous honors and has been published in medical journals. He is a frequent speaker throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. He has offices in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Venice with hospital privileges at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

Dr. Silverstein enjoys staying active with cross-training, cycling, tennis, skiing, golf, and international travel. He is an advocate for improving the quality of life for his patients and believes that open communication between physicians and patients is a key to successful outcomes.

Yolanda South
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

My journey with arthritis began in the fall of 2001. We had gone on motorcycle ride to a festival in GA.  By the time we got to our destination in GA, my feet felt like I was walking on needles of fire. The next thing I notice is swelling in my finger on the joint. It took me some time to realize that I needed to go to a Doctor to find out what was really going on. But I remember vividly when she took my hands in hers looked up at me and said, “You have arthritis”. I thought she was crazy. I wasn’t old. Arthritis was an old person disease, right? 

That day, my journey into knowledge of a disease that affects every age group. Knowledge of a disease that is more than a painful joint. Knowledge that would change my life.  With the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, I started researching feverishly to figure out what caused it. Because if I could find out what caused it, I could get rid of it. What I found was there is no cure. I was exposed to the Arthritis Foundation through their magazine, Arthritis Today.  I read the tips, the stories and about research.  I found there that people can live with the disease and even people who got off their meds and went into remission. There is hope! 

After participating in the Walk to Cure Arthritis for several years, I felt I needed to give more, so I served on the walk committee for several years and continue to have the support of my wonderful team “Prancers” out there with me every year. That’s what it’s all about. Find your support system...family, doctors, friends or a magazine.  I am honored to serve as this year’s Adult Honoree!

Grace Gustafson
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Young Adult Honoree

Grace was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis on October 11th 2011 after battling a bout of Lymes Disease. Her arthritis has been in remission for a couple of years, but she has since been diagnosed with other autoimmune diseases. Dysautonomia, Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome, chronic complex migraines, Hashimotos Disease, Granulomatous Lymphadenopathy, Common Variable Immune Deficiency, lung disease, a progressive right visual field loss of unknown etiology, and Gastroparesis are some of the issues he is currently battling. She has also recently had her SI joints become inflamed, and had injections to relieve the inflammation…. and has been placed back on a daily anti-inflammatory. She had a permanent gastric electrical stimulator implanted in 2017 which has allowed her to come off of her feeding tube and eat like a normal person. She is treated here locally, at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. 

Grace is a junior at Braden River High School. She is very involved in her schools choir program and theatre troupe, which mean the world to her. She also loves to be involved in productions at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. 

She has been battling health issues since the age of nine. Since her remission with JIA, many other autoimmune diseases have been an battle for her. Despite all of her struggles, she wants nothing more to be like a normal kid….and always has a smile on her face.

The Arthritis Foundation has done so much for us and we are eternally grateful. The have made it possible for her to attend Camp Boggy Creek multiple times, as well as attending a National Conference. They also sent her and to Washington, DC to talk to advocate and talk to members of congress about this debilitating disease. 

She is honored to be chosen as the Young Adult Honoree for this years Jingle Bell Run. Please come and join us in the battle for a cure for Arthritis.

Jaydin Mercer
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Youth Honoree

 All I really remember was the pain. Not really how it happened, just how much it hurt me to have it. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Three big words that mean a lot to me now but did not register in my mind back then. I was only four-years-old, so I did not understand what was happening. 

The first medicine I began taking was medication to reduce the swelling, but it just increased my stomach aches. After switching my medicine, I soon had to be put to sleep for steroid injections in the left knee. While this was going on, we also figured out that I had Uveitis, a type of Arthritis in my eyes. It causes them to inflame, which can lead to blindness if not treated.  Today, I manage my Arthritis by taking my NSAID twice a day, receiving a shots every Saturday, and getting a blood draw every six weeks. Staying active and eating healthy also help me stay happy and feel as good as possible!

Despite having Arthritis, I am able to play soccer, train in Martial Arts, maintain straight A’s for three years, and get into the gifted program. 

As the official Youth Honoree, I have a chance to help others going through the same problems as me. The foundation also made it possible for me to go to Camp Boggy Creek for a family weekend last fall and a whole week this summer. I can now help raise money for this great foundation! I am honored to raise awareness about something that others might overlook or not understand and show them that this is a serious issue for people of all ages. We should be working together to find cures and other ways to help. I am proud to represent the Arthritis Foundation! 


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