2019 Jingle Bell Run Honorees

Dr. Courtney Crayne
Medical Honoree

Originally from New Orleans, Dr. Courtney Crayne attended Cornell University and joined Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, who partners with the Arthritis Foundation to fight rheumatic disease. She knew within days of rotating in the Pediatric Rheumatology clinic as a 4th year medical student at UAB that she was destined to treat kids with autoimmune disease. While completing residency at Tulane-Ochsner Pediatrics in New Orleans, a city with limited Pediatric Rheumatology access, Dr. Crayne learned about the workforce shortage specific to rheumatology. Her passion for patient advocacy began to unfold, and during her fellowship training at UAB, she remained active in advocacy efforts to promote quality access to patient care. She has met with members of both State and Federal Congress to encourage healthcare policy reform to provide better patient care for people with rheumatic disease. Additionally, she was appointed to serve on the Government Affairs Committee and Early Career Investigators Subcommittee for the American College of Rheumatology. Now as an attending physician at UAB / Children’s of Alabama, Dr. Crayne spends a portion of her time dedicated to clinical outcomes research and educating trainees on how to become successful advocates. Dr. Crayne is also the proud mom to two growing boys (ages 6 and 2) and an avid runner.

Marley Wilkes
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Youth Honoree

At just 8 years old and in the 2nd grade, Marley was diagnosed with Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Her diagnosis came after a year of what her parents thought were growing pains and after she was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The final sign was when her thumb was stuck in a bent position that she couldn’t straighten out. Also known as trigger finger. Her Mom, Sheila is so thankful for the issue with her thumb because it’s what led them to her diagnosis.

Now at 11 years old, Marley takes weekly injections to keep her flare ups at a minimum. While on her medication, she has virtually no symptoms. Marley and her parents were shocked when she was diagnosed and are constantly having to explain her to friends and colleagues. Sheila said, “The lack of awareness is troubling. Like us in the beginning, most people do not know that kids can get arthritis too.” As the 2019 Youth Honoree, they’re hoping to change that.

Marley and her family want to raise awareness and become more involved in the foundation and the great community the foundation has established. Marley’s ultimate goal is, “to live a life without limitations. I refuse to let this disease keep me from pursuing my goals and dreams. To all of those fighting with her, she says, “Be strong, courageous, and know that there is someone out there going through the same struggle as you.”