Congratulations and thank you to all our walkers, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters from the first-ever Walk to Fight Arthritis in Brandon, Manitoba. A total of 67 walkers took part, and $11, 874 was raised!
The event represented a transition from the past Jingle Bell Walk & Run for Arthritis, aligning Brandon with Winnipeg and more than 40 other communities across Canada.
“We are grateful for the contributions of the Brandon Arthritis Support Group and local businesses like Rolling Spokes and Vanguard Credit Union, who continued their commitment from the Jingle Bell Walk & Run to the Walk to Fight Arthritis,” said Stefanie Payne, Fund Development and Education Intern with The Society.
Emcee Trent Bartley from Q Country 91.5FM kept the crowd energized. Brandon City Councillor Lonnie Patterson and MLA Len Isleifson for Brandon East brought remarks and greetings and walked with their constituents.
Walk Hero Family, The Hildebrandts and Team Tori took their role very seriously, wearing superhero costumes to represent the fight against arthritis.
Tori Hildebrandt, from MacGregor, MB, has lived with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis for eight of her ten years. It was active in 29 of her joints when she was diagnosed. Tori’s aunt lives with fibromyalgia and her grandma lives with rheumatoid arthritis.
“The Walk is something fun and positive for our entire family to take part in to put a smile on Tori’s face. It’s for a great cause and it feels good to do it. We appreciate everyone’s support for this cause,” said Tori’s mom, Kristen.
As Walk Heroes, Tori and her mom took part in media interviews, and recorded a radio commercial. Tori captured second place in the youth fundraising category with a total of $2100.
Reeann Davidson from Russell, MB, was the # 1 youth fundraiser, with $2219.75. Her team, The Sneakers for "Ree"life, won top prize for team fundraising at $2429.75. Reeann was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in 2016, at two years of age.
“It was a hard thing to watch as parents,” said mom Vicki. “We knew something was wrong when she was crying all night and limping. After multiple tests we discovered that she had has damage in both her hips.”
Steroid injections four months after Reann’s second birthday help with her hip pain and mobility.
“We have to be very observant, reading her body language so the pain doesn’t get out of control,” said Vicki. “Some days are harder then others but we take it one day at a time.”
Greta MacDonald, from MacGregor, MB raised $1,270 as the top adult fundraiser and earned Walk Star status. Her team, Achy Breaky Joints, plans to return for 2018.
The start of a new tradition in Brandon!