The holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year, but they’re also the most stressful. Sometimes you have to take time to focus and center yourself on what really matters.
To combat holiday-induced stress, I try to take time out every season to do something fun, yet helpful, to someone less fortunate. A few years ago, I volunteered at a Salvation Army toy drive with some coworkers, sorting toys by age group for the less fortunate kids who’d receive them. One year, I used my bargain-hunting skills to buy groceries for a local food bank so others could have Christmas dinner.
Regardless of faith, generosity is a big theme of the holiday season. As someone who loves running and supporting charity races, I was excited to find the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5K, the nation’s largest holiday 5K race series aimed at fighting arthritis. I currently serve on the committee for the Mt. Pleasant run, which is December 14 at Mt. Pleasant Hospital, off Hwy. 17 North.
The Jingle Bell Run 5K is your chance to raise or donate money toward arthritis research and education programs while enjoying an active and fun holiday event. You can run or walk this 5K, and we encourage you to wear costumes, tie jingle bells to your shoes, and just have fun. Many participants are first-time 5Kers or run/walkers, so there’s no need to feel like people will laugh at you or you’ll finish last (how many people can say they finished last in a race? That’s almost a bragging right).
If you’re a hardcore athlete and like to run competitively, the Jingle Bell 5K is timed with overall and age group awards- unlike many of the newer recreational runs that are purely recreational and not timed.
While I’ll participate in the Mt. Pleasant run/walk, Jingle Bell 5Ks are held all over the US. Almost every state is on board, so chances are you can find one close by.
The cause is close to my heart, since my grandma suffered from debilitating arthritis in her later years, and one of my first 5K races after recovering from severe anemia was the Arthritis Foundation 5K in Florence.
Most of us associate arthritis with older adults, but younger people and even kids deal with arthritis on a daily basis, including our Mt. Pleasant patient honoree, Blake. At age 3, Blake was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. He soon began treatment and now plays baseball and soccer and is an active, happy 4-year-old. Proceeds from events such as the Jingle Bell Run helped Blake obtain the treatments he needed to grow up and run, play, and be a regular kid.
What’s not to love about staying healthy, spending time with family and friends, and raising money for a great cause this holiday season? If you’d like to get involved in the Jingle Bell 5K, like them on Facebook, and visit their website to find an event near you.