2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Susan Baxter
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

Susan has been commuting to work from Orlando to NYC since August 2008.  This has resulted in her getting reacquainted with having 4 seasons, readjusting to winter weather, and having frequent flyer miles.  While she had to adjust to the winter cold and dampness, she knew something was different in February 2015 when her knees and ankles hurt walking down the stairs going into the subway. The aches and pains were getting worse.  She then noticed that she couldn't make a fist in the mornings and getting out of bed and moving around in the morning took longer. 

Initially she thought it was because of the harsh, damp winter that year, but later that Spring, when she was home in Florida, she mentioned her symptoms to her doctor.  A blood test, and a referral to a rheumatologist resulted in being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis June 1, 2015.   

This diagnosis brought about a need for understanding, answers, and some lifestyle adjustments.  Susan began researching and discovered the Arthritis Foundation and all of their resources on nutrition, treatment options, tools for everyday living, and support.  Wanting to get involved she started participating in advocacy activities and the Jingle Bell Run.  This will be her 3rd Jingle Bell Run. This year, Susan is serving as Orlando’s Jingle Bell Run Adult Honoree. 

Please show your support by joining her team or making a donation to help her reach her goal!

Sarah Clemons
Juvenile Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Sarah is 17 years old and in eleventh grade.  When she was 14 she had ankle pain that was dismissed by the doctor as growing pains.  After 14 months of doctor appointments, tests and physical therapy, Sarah was diagnosed with Enthesitis-Related Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis JIA.  She has had pain in her jaw, ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, back and baby toe, fatigue and stiffness. Sarah also has several other autoimmune related diseases including Hashimotos Hypothyroid, Dysautonomia, Metabolic Acidosis, Pseudotumor Cerebri and Papilledema.  She is treated here locally by rheumatology at Nemours Children’s Hospital.  She receives infusions and injections as part of her treatment.  

Sarah is stronger than JA! She has to spend a lot of time at doctor appointments, tests and treatment for JA.  Despite her challenges, however,  she continues the activities she loves including ballet, volunteering at the zoo, babysitting, performing at the local theatre, and training and showing her dogs.  Juvenile Arthritis does not define her. She is supported by her very special soul dog, Suri! 

Sarah appreciates all of the opportunities and support the Arthritis Foundation has given her. She discovered she wasn’t alone in this battle at the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference meeting new JA friends.  She has also experienced Camp Boggy Creek where she just got to be a kid and have fun!  

Sarah’s dream is a cure for Juvenile Arthritis!  Thank you to the Arthritis Foundation for allowing Sarah to be the Youth Honoree.  She is so happy to share her story.  See you at the Jingle Bell Run!

To donate or join Sarah's team click here.

Dayna Chavarria
Juvenile Arthritis
Teen Honoree

Dayna Marie Chavarria is 17 years old and a student at Hospital Home Bound. Dayna Ioves music, art, and anything that allows her to use be creative. She loves learning new things, meeting new people, but her favorite thing to do is share the best parts of life with others. Ever since she was just a toddler she struggled with many different chronic illnesses, including Juvenile Arthritis. 

Dayna has spent a lot of time in hospitals fighting her diseases and pushing through for a brighter and better future. “I know there are other kids just like me pushing through every day. My sister often reminds me of quote by Jim Henson; My hope is to leave this world a little better for having been there." 
Her dream is to reach the hearts of other kids, who have battled with chronic illnesses, and to do whatever she can to help make their lives better and brighter.  

It is important to Dayna to share her story because it will help create much needed public awareness about Juvenile Arthritis and perhaps help inspire others.  She wants to take part in helping find a cure for JA by supporting the efforts of the Arthritis Foundation.   This year, Dayna is proudly serving as Teen Honoree for the Orlando Jingle Bell Run.  Her team, Dash for Dayna has set a goal of $2500. Please consider making a donation and joining Dayna’s team to help them reach their goal.

To donate or join Dayna's team click here.


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