As William Scannon, Jr., of Hamilton, NJ prepares to run in the race next month, he has one thing on his mind.
“My goal isn’t to win this race, but to raise awareness among the thousands of participants and spectators of the devastating effects of arthritis,” said Scannon, 42.
Scannon has watched his neighbor, friend and CreakyJoints member Kelly Rouba, 28, suffer from a severe form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) for many years and has pledged to help her raise funds for the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF).
The foundation, which was established in 1970, funds the work of the country’s leading researchers who are seeking improved treatment and the ultimate cure of arthritis.
“Arthritis is currently the leading cause of disability in America,” said Helene Belisle, executive director of ANRF. “An estimated 1 in 5 American adults, or 46 million Americans, have some form of arthritis and the cost of treating arthritis is an estimated $82.5 billion annually.”
Rouba, who was diagnosed with JRA in 1982, uses a wheelchair as a result of the chronic illness and has to take weekly injections of medication to help her cope with the disease.
“Many people do not realize how damaging arthritis can be, especially because commercials on television often minimize its severity,” Rouba said. “I am very humbled that Bill has joined me in my efforts to raise not only awareness, but funds for better treatment options and hopefully even a cure.”
Scannon, who has been training for the past four months, developed a passion for running when he was a member of Hamilton High West’s cross country team in the early 80s.
Although this will be the first time he has competed in a marathon, Scannon has participated in various races since high school. In recent months, he competed in seven events in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania in an effort to prepare for the 26.2-mile marathon on November 23.
“Aside from raising awareness for arthritis, I am looking forward to being able to complete the race so I can finally call myself a marathon runner,” Scannon said.