Event raises awareness of arthritis

November 22, 1999

Jingle Bell RunBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

On some mornings, Carol Martin knows what the weather will be like before she even gets out of bed.

The Hagerstown woman is no clairvoyant - she has fibromyalgia syndrome, a severe form of arthritis that affects the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints.

cont. from front page

"If it's damp and rainy out, I'll feel sore all over," she said.

Martin, 52, was first diagnosed with arthritis four years ago but said she believes she has had it much longer.

The disease causes fatigue and pain and disrupts her sleep, she said.

The Maugansville woman takes medication for the problem, and staying active helps, she said.

On Sunday afternoon, Martin was one of 150 people who took part in the fourth annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation of Western Maryland.


She walked the five-kilometer course at South Hagerstown High School as a member of the Mack Trucks Inc. team and helped raise $747 for the foundation.

"It's wonderful to see such a good turnout and everyone supporting arthritis in all its different forms," Martin said.

About $8,000 was raised during the event, matching last year's total, said Craig Johnson, foundation executive director.

The money is used for arthritis research and locally for support groups, public forums about arthritis issues, education and a newsletter.

Participants either walked or ran the five kilometers starting at the South Hagerstown High School track and covering a portion of the school's cross country course, he said.

"It's just a great event. We have a lot of fun and are able to raise some money," said Johnson.

He said the fund-raiser also promotes exercise for a healthy lifestyle.

Johnson awarded prizes and medals to various winners in the walk/run.

With 25 girls either running or walking in the event, the South Hagerstown High School girl's basketball team took the prize for the most team participants and money raised - $1,200.

Junior center/forwards Casaundra Cartwright, 16, of Hagerstown, and Brandy Price, 16, of Hagerstown, both ran the five kilometers on Sunday. They have relatives with arthritis.

The teens said they wanted to take part in the event to increase awareness and raise money to help in finding a cure.

Cartwright said she worries about getting the disease and sometimes suffers from joint pain.

"I know it's common for a lot of people. I exercise to strengthen my joints," she said.

It is not known precisely what causes the more than 100 forms of arthritis, which can strike anyone at any age, said Johnson.

According to the national Arthritis Foundation, nearly 43 million Americans, or one in six, has some type of arthritis.

Arthritis may stem from heredity or injuries, he said.

The money is needed to help fund research and help those who have the disease to live with it, said Johnson.

"A cure is still years down the road but there are new medicines and we know a lot more," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles