2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees

Don Peterson
Corporate Chair

Don Peterson looks at access to healthcare the same way he views bridges, airports and roads – as essential parts of our nation’s infrastructure. With that in mind, Don is eager to support the Arthritis Foundation – and its mission of making access to healthcare affordable for all people suffering from arthritis and related conditions – as the Corporate Chair of the 2018 Jingle Bell Run. Don, who lives in Leawood, founded Infusion Express in Overland Park, and the company now has locations throughout the United States. Don now serves as the COO of Premier Specialty Network and the CEO of Tornare LLC, a Missouri-based company that provides revenue management, credentialing, operations support and more to rural healthcare providers. He is a lifelong technology guru who studied economics at American University and holds a patent in biometric security. He’s also a lifelong athlete who knows firsthand the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis, and he has seen through Infusion Express how rheumatoid arthritis impacts lives on a daily basis. “Medical care is an essential service, and engaging with the community is an essential part of that service,” Don says. “Community programs such as the Arthritis Foundation give structure to that engagement.” Thank you, Don, for serving as the 2018 Corporate Chair of the Jingle Bell Run!

Join Don in the fight against arthritis, register or donate today!

Julian Magadan, MD
Center for Rheumatic Disease
Medical Honoree

As a rheumatologist at the Center for Rheumatic Disease in Kansas City, Dr. Julian Magadan sees daily the debilitating effects that arthritis can have. “I know that arthritis, whether inflammatory or non-inflammatory, can be detrimental to the quality of life for my patients,” says Dr. Magadan, who lives in Lenexa with his wife and two daughters. “Due to advances in the treatment of inflammatory arthropathies, we are now able to slow down the progression of the disease and, therefore, limit the damage and deformities we have seen in the past.” Dr. Magadan’s practice is a generous sponsor of the Jingle Bell Run, so he and his colleagues will be at the event with bells on. “The Arthritis Foundation is an important resource for patients,” Dr. Magadan says. “It also raises funds for research, which helps in the development of new medications for the treatment of arthritis.” Thank you, Dr. Magadan, for your support of the arthritis community in Kansas City! .

Join Dr. Magadan in the fight against arthritis, register to donate today!

Sharna Rittmaster
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

Sharna Rittmaster stands just 4 feet, 8 inches tall. She was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1979 – a time when the disease was far more mysterious than it is now – and arthritis quite literally changed the course of her life. The disease debilitated most of her joints, stunting her growth and forcing many of those joints to fuse. She had both hips and knees replaced at age 17. She spent many years going to physical therapy, working with numerous doctors, and taking various medications.

This year, we honor Sharna as our adult honoree to recognize her accomplishments in Jingle Bell Run – and in life! Sharna first joined us at the Jingle Bell Run in 2013, challenging herself to finish the 3.1-mile course in a time of 1 hour and 32 minutes. "I wanted to see if I could do it," Sharna says. "I had never walked that distance at one time, so it was another challenge for me to add to my to do list." This will mark her fifth year.

Sharna, who is 42 and lives in Overland Park, is an inspiration to those around her. Despite her physical limitations, she challenges herself by participating in activities such as scuba diving, ziplining and traveling to foreign destinations. She maintains her local independence by driving a customized van and getting together with friends. "Every outing, every step, is thought out," she says. "But I don't let too much get in my way, especially if it's something I really want to do." Like the Jingle Bell Run. "Having arthritis my entire life, I have had to learn many things the hard way," Sharna says. "That's why it's so important, even for young families, to be able to have a resource like the Arthritis Foundation." Thank you for inspiring us, Sharna!

Visit Sharna's fundraising page to donate today!

Hudson Norman
Juvenile Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Hudson Norman's journey to Juvenile Arthritis (JA) was a 9-month odyssey of doctor's visits – pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, liver specialist and, finally, rheumatologist. At an early age, his toes began growing awkwardly, but doctors couldn't figure out why. Finally, in September 2017 and just a few months shy of his 7th birthday, Hudson was diagnosed with JA. Though the joints in his toes are permanently damaged, Hudson maintains an active, busy, normal childhood. "We're lucky that JA has never had an impact on Hudson's day-to-day life," says Hudson's mom, Jill. "As a family, we feel it's important to support the Arthritis Foundation and participate in the Jingle Bell Run to give hope to those suffering from this disease." Last year, the Normans and their team, Huddy’s Buddies, made their Jingle Bell Run debut. Joined by more than 50 friends and family members – many of them from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Shawnee – they raised more than $6,000 in the fight against arthritis." If we can raise funds for further research and get one step closer to a cure," Jill says, "we're all in!" 

Visit Hudson's fundraising page to donate today!

Emma Day
Juvenile Arthritis
Youth Honoree

The first indication that something was wrong with Emma Day came from the dentist, who noticed that Emma couldn't open her mouth as wide as she could when she was younger. Then came the pain in Emma's heels, her swollen ankles, and the painful wrists that could no longer support her body while she was doing gymnastics. Swollen fingers and a swollen knee followed and, as is the case with so many other children with Juvenile Arthritis (JA), she saw a steady array of doctors who couldn't give her a diagnosis. Finally, at age 11, Emma and her family got official word that she had JA – even in her jaw. Emma – who is now 14 and lives in Lawrence, KS, with her family – has been a member of the Arthritis Foundation family ever since. She's attended Camp Joint Adventures in Lawson, MO, each of the last two summers, and her Jingle Bell Run team – called the Zippy Sloths – raised more than $4,000 last year. "We see first-hand the importance of continued research," says Emma's mom, Jen. "Finding the right combination of medications can be difficult and is often a process of trial and error. For three years, we have followed the medication protocol with some disappointing results – and an occasional success. We hope that some day there will be a better, more precise way to treat kids who have JA." Even though Emma still struggles with pain, and even had to quit gymnastics, she continues to live life to the fullest and enjoys new activities like dance and swimming – and is so excited about being this year's Jingle Bell Run Youth Honoree! 

Visit Emma's fundraising page to donate today!

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