2018 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Brett Smith, D.O.
Medical Honoree

Dr. Brett Smith is a board-certified Rheumatologist, who provides access & care to children and adults living with rheumatic disease.  Additional interests include bone health and musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Dr. Smith graduated with honors from the University of Florida, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science. He earned his medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed his residency at the University of Kentucky.  His fellowship was completed at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. 

He is a member of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), serves on the ACR’s Political Action Committee and is the Treasurer for the Tennessee Rheumatology Society.  

His primary focus is to provide Rheumatology access to all age groups in East Tennessee, and to spend time with each patient to know their story and fully address their concerns. 

When not caring for patients, he spends time with his wife and 3 children, practices beekeeping and participates in adult ice hockey leagues.

Annette Moore
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Teen Honoree

Never did Annette imagine in her early 30’s her life would be changed forever. With a thriving career she loved and had worked so hard for suddenly found herself suffering from pain and exhaustion. Over time things progressively got much worse where she experienced indescribable stiffness and incomparable pain. “I dreaded every morning. Each tiny step I took when I forced myself out of bed, hunched over from the agony, felt like the bones in my feet were breaking. When I made it to the shower, the simple act of washing my hair hurt so much that I slumped against the shower wall and cried. I eventually made it to my car, and as I drove, I had to constantly alternate my hands on the steering wheel because the pain was so intense. And then I arrived at work for another day. I was exhausted, in pain everywhere, and more scared than I had ever been in my life.” She couldn’t see how she would be able to take care of herself much longer.

Finally, at age 36 Annette was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by Dr. Sienknecht, Arthritis Associates in Chattanooga, and began treatment. “It seems that treating autoimmune diseases, including RA, often involves trying a series of protocols, meticulously monitoring the results, and adjusting accordingly. It’s not usually straightforward. Fortunately for me, each approach provided at least moderate success, and now I am doing better. I’m not cured, but with the grace of God, medication, regular medical oversight, and lifestyle changes including a diet to reduce inflammation, I live a good, well-balanced life, while maintaining a demanding professional career. RA is formidable. But there is a great deal that can be done to allow resumption of a meaningful and productive life.”

Annette resides in Ooltewah, TN where she devotes time to her family, critters, friends, community, and career.  She lives out Dr. Sienknecht’s motto, “Motion is Lotion” and can often be found punching and kicking bags at 9Round, walking three miles three times a week, lifting small free weights, immersing herself in concerts and art, and cheering on her beloved Vols.  She is thankful every day to get to live this blessed life and to continue saying “yes” to new experiences.

Kaiya Cruze
Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Teen Honoree

Shortly before Kaiya’s 15th birthday she noticed increased pain in her joints, specifically in her knees, back, wrists, and severe immobility in some of her fingers.  Kaiya and her mom attributed it to her 10 consecutive years of competitive soccer and her recent role of playing varsity soccer as a freshman at Hardin Valley Academy.  On her 15th birthday, Kaiya sprained her ankle causing her to seek medical care.  Upon her release, her mom noticed she couldn’t tie her own shoes which prompted her to ask Dr. Josh Johnson of Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic to further evaluate the situation.  Dr. Johnson immediately inquired on any family history of auto immune disorders and ordered lab work.  Never did they imagine, in a matter of days, her life would forever be different. 

Kaiya was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Rheumatoid Arthritis by Dr. Graham at Vanderbilt. She began immediate treatment and so far, has responded to the medications rather well. She started on a in home weekly injection of methotrexate, along with several other daily medications and physical therapy twice a week.

“When I was officially diagnosed, it took a big toll on my life.  It was very hard on my relationship with my family and friends because no one understood the intense pain I was going through and that kids could get arthritis too. With the support and educational opportunities provided by the Arthritis Foundation, I realized it was my job to educate my family and friends, so they could understand my pain.  My goal is for worldwide recognition to this chronic, lifelong disease so that other’s may recognize through education what I deal with physically every day of my life. We must raise awareness to raise funds for a cure for arthritis. There are some days I just want to stay in bed, but I tell myself I am better than JRA. JRA will never define ME because I define ME!  I am stronger than JRA.” – Kaiya Cruze


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