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2023 Jingle Bell Run Honorees


Kaitlyn Backsmeier
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Adult Honoree

When Kate was three years old, she woke up with a swollen right knee and left ankle. Her parents brought her to the hospital and through many tests she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She managed her symptoms by taking medicine and wearing leg braces.

She had quite a few good years of remission, until the rheumatoid arthritis came back. For the last 15 years Kate has been on biologic injections and has had to undergo three knee surgeries, the most recent one being just last December.

She is doing well now, but the thought of when the next flare will come up is always something that weighs on her.

Support Kate and her team, Kate's Comebacks, on her personal fundraising page.



Maddie Jurkowski
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Youth Honoree

Maddie’s arthritis symptoms appeared after a respiratory virus in 2019. She had swelling and pain in her knees. The doctor prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection, but her symptoms did not subside. Six months later, Maddie was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. After unsuccessful treatments of oral steroids, Maddie responded well to steroid injections in her knees and Methotrexate injections. She was in remission until a virus caused a flare up in February.

Maddie loves cheerleading, dance, tumbling and playing with her friends. She loves her dog and two cats and would love to adopt more kitties. She also wants to become a famous cheerleader.

Maddie wants to use her honoree role to teach people that kids can get arthritis too.  

Support Maddie and her team, Maddie's Cheerleaders, on her personal fundraising page.