2019 Jingle Bell Run Honorees

 

Audrey Calise
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Youth Honoree  


Audrey Calise is your typical 6 year old girl. She loves to bake, dance, and explore the outdoors. Everyone that meets her is stunned to learn that she is one of 300,000 children affected by Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Her story began at 13 months old with swelling in her right ankle. After multiple negative x-rays and MRI’s, she had her first appointment with a pediatric rheumatologist. She would soon be diagnosed with polyarticular JIA, and was scheduled for her first joint injection. Eventually the inflammation would spread to both ankles and knees, and she would begin her journey on Methotrexate at just 2 years old.

Two and a half years later, Audrey’s arthritis seemed to be in remission and she was 6 weeks away from being weaned off medications. Unfortunately prior to that appointment, the arthritis would flare worse than ever before. She refused to walk and would ask to be carried from one room to the next. Along with the joint inflammation and pain, Audrey was experiencing eye and gut inflammation. It was difficult to eat or digest food and she was losing weight at an alarming rate. An increase in medication made things worse and her doctor informed us her body was no longer responding to the methotrexate. She would need to begin an extended high dose round of steroids to make her comfortable, while they decided what medication would be next.

Several months later, Audrey began her new medication and was finally weaned from the steroid. Unfortunately within weeks, the gut inflammation and arthritis returned in full force. After two hospital stays, invasive testing, and countless blood tests, Audrey’s doctors once again adjusted her arthritis medications. After more than a year and half of pain and discomfort, Audrey is finally getting to be herself once again.

Audrey and the other 300,000 children like her are why our family has decided to run and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation. We hope you will donate, hope you will run, and most importantly hope you will stand with us for all affected by Arthritis.


Tracy Gable 
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree  


Tracy was a normal teenager. In high school she was a varsity athlete in cross country, track, swimming, and softball, holding multiple records. As you can imagine, the morning when she woke up with a high fever, swollen and immobile joints was difficult. Her mother brought her to the doctor, she didn’t think the diagnosis was going to be a chronic disease. Well, that's exactly what it was, she was diagnosed as having rheumatoid arthritis with moderate LUPUS, over seventeen years ago.

Over the years, Tracy has been on several different medications due to changing symptoms. She often jokes about how many needles she has seen over her lifetime. She also brags how she can often pick out a good phlebotomist in a crowd. Needle after needle, she has persevered, achieving a Bo Black Belt in Muay Thai, running 5ks, half-marathons, and completing two New York City Marathons. She enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, all while following her two passions in life as a Special Education Teacher and Real Estate Agent.

After they got married, Tracy and her husband started to plan for a family. After consulting with doctors, halting Tracy’s medication was determined to be the safest option for trying to get pregnant. It was during this time that the unpredictability, severe radiating pain, and immobility in multiple joints returned. The average day consisted of bracing against furniture to walk to the bathroom in the morning or asking her husband for assistance. She continued to persevere and now they are excited to be welcoming a little girl into the world in September.

Wonder Woman has always been Tracy’s hero. Her innate love, compassion, empathy, and strong conscience are all traits that Tracy strives to emulate. Tracy even has the Wonder Woman logo tattooed on her ankle as a constant reminder that these traits are at the core of her foundation.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Two words that have tried so hard to dictate her lifestyle. Now, much like her hero, Tracy is bringing the fight to RA, by RAISING HOPE, RAISING MONEY, and RAISING AWARENESS. She is honored to be this year’s Jingle Ball Run Honoree!

 

Spread the Word!