Jingle Bell Run raises awareness for arthritis in Myrtle Beach

Jingle Bell Run raises awareness for arthritis in Myrtle Beach (Image 1)

The Arthritis Foundation hosted the Jingle Bell run at Broadway at the Beach. It's an event to raise money for reaserch and to raise awareness.

According to the Center for Disease Control's website, arthritis affects over a million people in South Carolina.

Brad Carlson participated in this walk. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis around 6 years ago.

“Started having a lot of pain in my small joints, in my hands and in my feet, and woke up one day and my hands were just swollen up like a tennis ball… and that's what actually got me on the right path to see a Rheumatologist to actually get my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis,” said Carlson.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto immune disease. Carlson said your immune system actually attacks your joints and sees them as a virus. He said the disease caused him to go from working to not working and using a wheelchair in a matter of months.

“My career was kind of my life for a long time and once you lose that it's kind of your anchor that's gone and there isn't much left that you're used to, you're starting all over again,” said Carlson.  

According to the Center for Disease Control, arthritis is the number one cause of disability in the United States.

Johnna Greene is walking with Carlson to raise awareness and money to try to find a cure. She and her husband knew Carlson before he was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“We knew Brad and we were very active together we went out to eat, he came over to the house, he and his wife and we went to the beach…he was very active and hearing he had arthritis you think 'O, it's just arthritis' but then when he went to being able to walk on the beach to being in a wheelchair that's what really got our attention,” said Greene.

Carlson said make sure to follow up with a doctor if you're in pain because he said it's hard to diagnose.

“The sooner they can react and get you on these biological medications the better off you are and the more it's going to protect your joints,” said Carlson.

Organizers with the Arthritis Foundation said this race is also to raise awareness that Rheumatoid Arthritis affects children. They said there are currently 4 thousand children in South Carolina that are doctor diagnosed.

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