2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees

Chuck Grier
Corporate Chair

Chuck Grier – the Chairman and CEO of UCI in Wichita – knows full well how debilitating arthritis can be. In fact, osteoarthritis so severely ravaged his knees that he’s had each of them replaced. Additionally, his mother had terrible osteoarthritis in her hands, and both of his parents had hip and knee replacements. For those reasons – along with his longtime commitment to the philanthropic community in Wichita – we’re proud to recognize Chuck Grier as the Corporate Chair of the Jingle Bell Run for the second year in a row! Last year, his sponsorship and fundraising efforts brought more than $10,000 to the Jingle Bell Run! Chuck, a K-State graduate and a member of the Kansas State University Engineering Hall of Fame, has been with UCI since 1983 and the CEO since 2001. He has served in leadership roles throughout the Wichita community for organizations such as Heartspring, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, the Boy Scouts and Goodwill Industries. This holiday season, Chuck returns as Corporate Chair to continue to bring focus to raising revenue and awareness for the Jingle Bell Run. “It is so important to support the Arthritis Foundation,” Chuck says. “There are so many people, young and old, who have been impacted by this disease.”

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

Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center
Medical Honoree

Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center (KSRC) has been involved in the fight against arthritis for more than 20 years. Since its inception in 1995, physicians at KSRC have performed countless joint replacements and now replace more than 1,200 joints each year. Beyond joint replacement, caregivers provide a full continuum of care for individuals in their fight against arthritis. Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center is a specialty hospital that was created to enhance the cost-effective delivery of outpatient surgical care with the introduction of inpatient beds for more extended stays. It provides elective surgery with state-of-the-art equipment and a highly trained staff that’s ready to meet patients’ needs for safety and comfort and, with 14 operating rooms and 30 private inpatient rooms, KSRC provides surgical health care at a reduced cost. Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center has been a proud supporter and sponsor of the Jingle Bell Run since 2016, and the Arthritis Foundation is proud to recognize KSRC as this year’s 2018 Medical Honoree!

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

Eva Hamilton
Juvenile Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Eva calls them "pokies" and, to her, they're the worst part about having juvenile arthritis (JA). Eva has to have her blood drawn regularly – every six months, at least – and those needle-sticks bring tears to her eyes every time. "Those labs have taken their toll," says her mom, Becky. "Most of the time, though, she is happy and doesn't let anything slow her down." And that's why Eva is our girl youth honoree for this year's Jingle Bell Run! Eva, who is 4, was diagnosed with JA at age 2. She road-trips regularly from her home in Andover to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and her disease is largely under control. Team Eva made its Jingle Bell Run debut in 2017, and Eva is looking forward to being more involved in 2018. "I hate this disease," Becky says. "I hate that my daughter was in so much pain for so long. I hate that I don't know what will happen in the future. I hate that even though the disease is quiet right now, I know that it will come back. We need to do everything we can to help fund research to find a cure and to help those affected by this awful disease."

Join Eva in her fight against arthritis, register or donate today!

Wyatt Wright
Juvenile Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Wyatt Wright has traveled the country trying to find the right doctor: Kansas City, Ohio, Minnesota, and more. He has missed so much school the last three years that his mom now home-schools him. He had to quit wrestling and playing football, and he takes 11-plus pills a day to stave off scleroderma and various other health challenges. But Wyatt – who is 11 years old and lives in Derby – isn't about to let that stop him! He plays baseball with vigor, and he's a regular on the local go-kart circuit. That's why, when he and his family make their Jingle Bell Run debut this year, Wyatt will be our boy youth honoree. "I think it's important to support the Arthritis Foundation because I believe these autoimmune diseases run together," says Wyatt's mom, Candace. "We want to know as much as possible to have the best treatment for our kids. Plus, I think we can learn from others and their battles." 

Join Wyatt in his fight against arthritis, register or donate today!

Alissa Gomez
Adult Honoree

When fibromyalgia first racked her body, it turned Alissa Gomez's world upside-down. She was nearing the end of her college career, and Alissa was ready to start life as a teacher. "I had to sleep 16 hours a day just to have enough energy to eat and take a shower," says Alissa, who lives in Wichita. "I slept through all my classes and was in extreme pain when I was awake. I had to change my major and my career choice because I no longer had the energy to work in public education. I lost time with family that I'll never get back, and I lost many friends due to their misunderstanding of chronic illness." Oh, but look at her now. Alissa, 23, has taken control of her health - and her life. She still has some pain and fatigue, but she's able to maintain a vibrant full-time career in the non-profit sector. She's been an avid supporter of the Arthritis Foundation since 2011 – when her younger sister was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis – and she can't wait to serve as the Adult Honoree of this year's Jingle Bell Run. "The Arthritis Foundation is an organization that gives hope to situations and diagnoses that feel hopeless," Alissa says. "Connecting with the Arthritis Foundation is an empowering experience!" 

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


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