Jingle Bell Run 2013!

Zach and Jake at the finish!!

What a day! Actually it was more than a day – it was more like a journey!! Since about August “The Ram Fam” has been sleeping, eating and breathing the Jingle Bell Run and it has been awesome! Before describing the actual day I thought I would outline the steps and process that led up to today.

July 2013 – We attended the Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis conference in Anaheim, CA (from a wonderful scholarship from the Arthritis Foundation (AF)). We met other kids/families impacted by arthritis, learned tons, and had lots of fun! Afterwards I sent a note to the AF thanking them for the wonderful opportunity and letting them know that I would love to get more involved with the organization.

August 2013 – I had lunch with some staff from the AF and they asked if Zach would like to be the youth honoree for the Jingle Bell Run this year! They explained that he would be the “face of the race” and would help promote the run/walk at events and through television/radio opportunities. We had participated in the run last year and were already talking about increasing our fundraising goal. Zach was excited about this especially once he heard about the television stuff!

Fall 2013 – Throughout the fall there were a number of highlights promoting and gearing up for the run:
*Zach’s face on the promo postcard sent out to thousands of people in the local area
*Zach speaking at the kick-off event at Bar Louie in Legacy Village
*Filming a commercial for the run with the local channel 19 featuring Zach (and his mom!) which ran quite a bit
*Being interviewed about living with arthritis on 43 Forum with Harry Boomer (Zach and me) which aired at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning

Meanwhile around the beginning of November we started to heavily recruit for our team. Our goal for our team, “The Ram Fam” was set at 10 members and our fundraising goal was set at $4000 – which was double what we raised from last year. I talked to every runner I knew, emailed lots of friends and seemed to mention it in almost every conversation I had. Before we knew it we had met our goal of 10 team members and were still growing. On a whim I contacted the John Carroll University promo items vendor (Consolidus) to ask if they would be able/willing to donate t-shirts. I thought it would be cool this year to have custom long-sleeved t-shirts for our team. Not even 24 hours went by before the company confirmed that they could donate 20 shirts!! I was stoked! So now team members would receive both a shirt and a monogrammed jingle bell hat!! As the team continued to grow overnight I wondered if we would have enough shirts. Thankfully, Consolidus agreed to up our quantity to 30 shirts at a value of just under $400!!! Our team continued to grow still and we ended up with 36 members strong!!! Our team had a large contingent of John Carroll students and staff. Here was the breakdown:

21 John Carroll Students
5 John Carroll Administrators
10 Family/Friends

The students were great at recruiting their friends and stepping up to help and get involved.

Top recruiter – Molly McComish!!

The day of the race soon arrived with a weather prediction of just 19 degrees!! Yikes!!! No worries with the Ram Fam, however!! They showed up in droves!!

Ram Fam Group Pic

We passed out the jingle bell hats, took the group pic and started off! Of course with all the rushing around at home in the morning I had forgotten to bring the timing chips for our shoes! I’m so used to them being in the bibs that I totally forgot to grab them from the bags so that meant that our races would not be counted in the results. No biggie! Just a good reminder to just run and have fun! I mean, this is the race to have fun with, right? I mean, just look at my outfit!!

In addition to the Ram Fam doing great by just showing up, there were a number of other highlights/things to note amongst our team:

*One person ran her personal best for a 5K!!

*One person ran her very first 5K ever!!

*One person placed 3rd in her age group with her crazy-leg time!!
“Crazy-legs” Valencia!!

*We had people from ages 8 – 70 participate on our team!!

*Together we raised $3790 for the Arthritis Foundation!! (came in first place for the most money raised!)

There is no way I could manage to thank every individual person who supported the Ram Fam this year. But I hope everyone knows just how much we appreciate their love and support! I especially want to publicly thank the members of this year’s Ram Fam!! Peace and love to each one of you!!

Gail Arnoff
Danielle Billone
Sharon Blackledge
Rachel Byrnes
Brenden Carlin
Gabrielle Corwin
Elizabeth English
Michael Gong
Joey Guillaume
Mary Ann Hanicak
Steve Henderson
Jake Hoffman
Owen Hoffman
Quinn Hoffman
Matt Hribar
Kayla Laverdiere
Molly McCabe
Katie McClusky
Molly McComish
Danielle McDonald
Kara Mihalic
Sophia Nobrega
Catie Pauley
Kailyn Pettochi
Brian Pillsbury
Zach Ramsey
Mike Ramsey
Lisa Ramsey
Katie Sauber
Nicole Shellenbarger
Sarah Spangerburg
Cara Sutherland
Hannah Todorowski
Marilyn Valencia
Emily Wach
Angie Wiemer

We had a blast being involved with the Jingle Bell Run this year! We were honored and humbled to have the opportunity for our family to be involved with the Youth Honoree program. We were grateful to have had such a positive experience and to have been able to help support such a great organization. We are looking forward to next year!!! Jingle Bell scarves?!!

Here are some other fun pics:

Hoffman Family

My loyal warriors

Sweet medal!