An annual holiday tradition in Providence will move forward with a little more somber feeling this year, as organizers gear up to host the 2019 Jingle Jog 5K.
Held each year to raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation, the Jingle Jog was created and organized by the family of Providence resident Rylan Elder, a WCHS student who has suffered from arthritis since birth. This year's event will be even more special as it is being held in honor of Rylan's father, Jeremy Elder, who lost his life in an accident at Warrior Coal earlier this year.
Jeremy Elder was a Jingle Jog committee member and ran in the race every year.
Rylan Elder was born at 32 weeks and spent the first three weeks of his life in the hospital. When he was 4, he was tested for allergies and was found to be allergic to 13 different foods. At 5, his family noticed one day that he was walking funny and his knee was swollen. He had just started playing soccer, so his parents initially thought it was a sports injury.
Numerous doctors appointments later an MRI revealed that he suffered from arthritis.
"He had been doing pretty good until a few months ago," said his mother, Kristi Elder. "About three weeks after Jeremy's accident, we found out his arthritis has flared back up and pretty significantly."
She explained that he had been off all of his arthritis medicine until the flare-up, which sent him back to the doctor. The pain has been particularly bad in his right ankle and foot, as well as his right hand and most of his fingers.
"The doctor was afraid he had bone damage but he didn't," Kristi Elder said. "His rheumatologist doesn't see how he walks down the halls at school, much less participate in PE and write in class. He has done all of this without special assistance or complaint."
His doctor also fears that the arthritis might have spread to his spine, which would be a new development.
"People don't understand what he goes through," Kristi Elder said. "With everything else he has a lot on his shoulders."
Registration for the 2019 Jingle Jog will begin Saturday at Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the Providence city park. Entry fee is $20 for the first runner in the 5K Run/Walk, and $10 for each additional family member who enters.
Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or email@example.com.