We are just 30 days away from the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis in Grand Rapids and we are getting excited for the event.  We would love to have a huge turn out for our team to support Mackenzie.  This has been a rough year for her with her relapse and the support means a lot even if she doesn’t always know how to show it or express it.

We are still over $2000 away from our fundraising goal  and coming up short of our participant goal and it’s hard.  (Losing out on our big fundraiser was heartbreaking for us)  We haven’t even managed to match last year.  I know we still have 30 days but I can’t help but feel we are coming up short and I know this money really does go to fund things that are important.  The Foundation has a history of advocating for and with patients at both the state and federal level.  They fund programs for those with arthritis including JA Power Packs for kids diagnosed with arthritis that include tools and information to help navigate a new diagnosis and a bear that can be warmed up to help comfort sore and achy joints.  They fund family and kids programs like the JA Conference where families all around the country can come together to learn and share with families all facing this terrible disease together and Camp Dakota and other JA Camps around the country…a special week of summer camp just for kids with active arthritis.  This camp allows kids with JA to experience summer camp and childhood in an environment where they won’t feel different or limited or excluded because of their JA.  And most importantly they fund critical research for relief of symptoms of the disease and ultimately the goal of a cure!  And we need a cure!

If you can spare a dollar or two now for a donation or an hour or two on May 6th to walk with us, please click on this link and join us.  Whether you believe it or not, even one dollar makes a huge impact and every person that walks with us May 6th makes an impression (especially in the eyes of a beautiful little girl).  http://www.walktocurearthritis.org/grandrapids/mackenziessidekicks

On a different note regarding the Walk, The Arthritis Foundation reached out to us and made us a new Face of Arthritis sign for the Walk.  It blows my mind to think that we are on year number five of fighting this horrible disease.  She sure has changed since her last sign was made three years ago:



It's that time of year again where we begin talking Spring and of course, the Walk to Cure Arthritis.  We are excited to be preparing for our eighth Walk and this year the Walk will be even more bittersweet as it will be our last Walk here in Michigan. 

Late summer of 2019 we made the decision to make a change and relocate to North Carolina at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.  Our decision was based primarily in the hope that the change is climate will be beneficial to Mackenzie and her battle with her arthritis.  Michigan has always been home to our family but for a child that is battling arthritis the brutal Michigan winters are extrememly hard.  The cold temperatures often tend to leave Mackenzie in active flares with swollen joints and a great deal of pain and when the real feel temperature dips below twenty degrees it's painful for her to even go outside which leaves her isolated from friends at school when they all go outside for recess.  In North Carolina these types of bitter cold temperatures are very rare and will allow her the opportunity for a better quality of life.  

This year we are asking everyone to please make an extra effort to join us for the Walk on May 3rd.  Becuase this is our last Walk to Cure here in Michigan we would love to see our biggest Team turn out yet and send Mackenzie off to North Carolina having felt the tremendous love and support of all of her family, friends, and supporters.  In recent years our team has drastically shrunk and it's been very obvious to Mackenzie.  We know life happens and gets busy but this year we would love to surprise her with a huge turnout, bigger then ever before!  Let's put a huge smile on her face and surround her with everything you've got!!!!

This years Walk to Cure will once again be held at Millennium Park in Grand Rapids, MI.  Onsite check-in will begin at 11:00am and the Walk will officially step off at 1:00pm.  There will be lots to do before and after the Walk so bring your families and friends!  The course will have both a 1 mile and a 3 mile option and the entire course is paved.  Online registration is open and it's FREE to register.  All participants need to register before joining in at the event.  To join our team, follow this link: https://events.arthritis.org/team/mackenziessidekicks and click the JOIN OUR TEAM button.  It's that easy!  

Let's make 2020 the year to remember!!!!  



2020 is definitely a year of forced change for sure.  Never in our lives could we have imagined living through a World Wide Pandemic.  Yes, we've learned about them through our history studies but it honestly is another one of those things that we said "That was x amount of years ago. That won't happen now" and yet here we are living in the midst of one.

Covid-19 is definitely having a huge impact on the world as a whole from living in periods of quarentine to social distancing to wearing a face mask anytime we are in public.  The impacts of Covid-19 are also impacting our economy with so many people out of work whether by choice or by force.  This has also created a huge impact on the Arthritis Foundation as well.  With so many people out of work and money tight amazing organizations like the Arthritis Foundation also are feeling the impact greatly.

This year all of our major events have been moved to virtual events and that has definitely had a major impact on the amount of funds that are raised by these events.  In May we held our first ever Virtual Walk to Cure Arthritis.  It was definitely not the same as the excitement, the community, and the inspiration of an in person event but the Foundation did a great job of creating something with very little time that managed to bring together the entire country in one giant Walk event instead of all of our individual community events.  

As the year has progressed other events have also been moved to a virtual platform including the annual JA Conference and the JA Summer Camps.  We all know virtual isn't the ideal way to have these events but it is also better then outright cancellation of the events.  Even now as I type this blog post the Foundation is very busy reorganizing in order to be able to continue to not only provide these events we have all come to embrace and look forward to in any format and manner that they can but to also continue to reach out to those affected by arthritis and provide them a community of support along with continuing to find new and creative ways to raise funds for research towards a cure.  

I am excited to see where the Foundation is headed and to also be a part of it.  I knew even before the pandemic and our physical relocation to North Carolina that when we did move I wanted to be even more involved and help the Foundation in any way that I could.  There are lots of things in progress and I will be sharing all that I can as I can moving forward but in the mean time, please be sure to jump over to our both our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MackenziesSidekicks and our Instagram page www.instagram.com/mackenziessidekicks/and be sure to like and follow them for the most up to date information and announcements.  Also, if you or anyone you know has arthritis please be sure to visit or share the Arthritis Foundation's website at www.arthritis.org and click on the Connect Now button to begin finding help and connection with the arthritis journey.  Nobody has to fight this battle alone!  

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We are excited to be registered for this year's Jingle Bell Run!!!! Although it iwll be a virtual event the ultimate goal will be the same...to bring about awareness, advocate, and fundraise for a cure!!!  Please consider joining our team whereever you may be or if you would like to make a donation to show your support you click this link https://events.arthritis.org/tea/23113. And as always we truly appreciate your love and support!!!! 


Wow!!! We are just $448 from our Team goal for this year's Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run!!!

We'd LOVE to have you "join us" this year and help us Jingle for a Cure!!!  Due to the pandemic this year's JBR will be virtual so you can participate where ever you are!!!  Your $35 registration fee goes directly to our team to support the Arthritis Foundation in their mission of awareness, education, advocacy, and research for a cure!

Join our team between now and October 15th and you will not only receive the exclusive 2020 Jingle Bell Run t-shirt featuring this guy pictured here, Jingles the official 2020 JBR mascot, along with a unique race medal and sticker you will also be entered to win a pair of JBR LuLaRoe leggings!!!

To join our team simply follow this link: https://events.arthrits.org/participant/212468 and then click on Join Our Team

Let's All Jingle For A Cure