2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Kelly Cunningham, M.D.
Medical Honoree

Sports can be rough on joints and cartilage, especially shoulders, knees, and hips. Kelly Cunningham, MD, has cared for many young and mature athletes whose joints take a beating day in and day out. He welcomes patients from Austin, Texas, and its surrounding communities to experience the cutting-edge technology and skill offered by his team at Austin Ortho + Biologics.

Dr. Cunningham works with each athlete to develop an individual treatment plan that emphasizes the least invasive treatments possible with a goal of minimal recuperation and downtime. He combines rigorous standards and quality of care with experience and insight, integrating the best new techniques into the care of each patient.

His patients have included skilled athletes in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, including members of the Dallas Cowboys at their Austin training camp, Austin Ice Bats hockey players, Southwestern University athletes, and many other college and high school athletes. He served for 15 years as a traveling team physician for the men’s alpine downhill US Olympic Ski Team, providing on-the-hill medical race coverage in North America and Europe, including qualifying races for the Winter Olympics.

As a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Cunningham also treats many seasoned weekend warriors such as runners, skiers (downhill, snowboard, and water), and tennis and golf enthusiasts.

After medical school and residency training in Dallas, he completed a sports medicine/knee fellowship with renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colorado, and underwent further shoulder training in England and Canada.

While with Dr. Steadman, the originator of the popular microfracture cartilage treatment technique, he developed a strong interest in the care of cartilage injuries and now has more than 20 years of experience with surgical microfracture and related procedures. In recent years, he has closely monitored cutting-edge techniques as they’re developed for use in these acute and chronic problems.

*Dr. Cunningham is no longer associated with Austin Sports Medicine LLP

Kate Kaufman
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

Kate is a 39 year old mom, special education teacher, business owner and arthritis warrior. She was born in Wisconsin and moved to Canada at the age of 4. Kate grew up in the Canadian Rockies and moved to Austin 10 years ago. After arriving in Texas she met her husband Walter and became stepmom to 4 wonderful boys.

Kate was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 21. At the time she struggled with the impacts of her diagnosis. She felt like her body had betrayed her, along with the physical effects of the disease the psychological ones were many. It was lonely having such chronic pain. At a time, she found she needed support and help more than ever. She often found her way of coping with the disease was to ignore it and the treatment she needed.  

In her early 30’s after many years of pain, depression and joint deterioration Kate decided to fight back. Arthritis had taken so much from her already, she refused to give up anymore. Being able to make beautiful things was a positive affirmation of the worth and capabilities her body still held.

Kate’s decision to become a teacher was largely influenced by her diagnosis. Her desire to help others, especially those with disabilities was directly related to the struggles she had faced as a result of her disability. She wanted to influence others to not use their disabilities as a crutch but as a tool to make them even stronger.

RAreHandsBoutique, Kate’s jewelry business was started a year and a half ago. This business is aimed to inspire those with chronic illness that they can still do all the things they love. Art and creation are fabulous therapy. RAreHandsBoutique also gives back 10% of all profits to arthritis research.

Bella Saenz
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Isabella “Bella” Saenz is nine years old and currently in 4th grade is Hays CISD. She was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of two and later with uveitis, which impacts her eyes and currently 23 joints. Bella is very outgoing, she loves and plays softball, she is on the student council and lighthouse committee for her school as a 4th grade leader, her long-term dream is to be an actress one day. 

To help her live an active lifestyle, Bella endures monthly infusions and takes a variety of pills and supplements daily to manage her joint pain. Unfortunately, Bella has never been in remission or have we identified the right cocktail of medicines that allow her to be pain free. We long for a cure one day and greater awareness of the disease and how it impacts children. 


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