Juvenile Arthritis Bike Ride Arrival at JA Conference

1,400 Miles for 300,000 Children – The Final Ride

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A grateful crowd cheered this morning as Jen and Keegan wheeled into Orlando for the Juvenile Arthritis Conference. This final ride marked the end of a 1,400-mile journey from New York City to Orlando by tandem bike.

“It was so wonderful to ride in with so many people cheering us on,” says Jen. “To have the kids who are attending the conference — some of them who have been following our journey all along —  there supporting us we finished was symbolic of the meaning of our whole ride.”

Jen Keegan Juvenile Bike Ride ArrivalJen, who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis (JA) as a toddler, is an avid cyclist, but the ride was about much more than just putting in the miles.

“This ride wasn’t about me,” says Jen. “It was always about recognizing all of the awesome children and young adults who are doing amazing things everyday in spite of having JA. They were my inspiration.”

Along the trek, Jen met many JA families in various states, offering them words of encouragement about their journey with JA. More unexpected were the connections Jen made with people who aren’t connected to JA. From restaurant owners to police officers and everyone in between, Jen and Keegan definitely met their goal of spreading awareness of the disease that affects more than 300,000 children.

“Most people we met didn’t know anything about JA,” says Jen. “It wasn’t that they didn’t care. They truly didn’t know. Once we brought our story and information to them, they had so many questions.”

Jen and Keegan also surpassed their $14,000 fundraising goal, having raised more than $15,000. The funds raised will support the Arthritis Foundation.

“In every sense of the phrase, Jen is a Champion of Yes,” says Ann Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “Whether she is biking down the coast or giving her time to our young adults who have JA, Jen is a wonderful example of how our volunteers are the best champions in our fight against arthritis.”

Although Jen has completed her amazing ride, it doesn’t mean her work is over. Jen will now spend the next couple of days leading the young adult section at the JA Conference.

“The JA Conference is my favorite week of the year, and we kicked it off with such positive energy this year by finishing our ride,” says Jen. “We have our largest young adult group ever this year, and I am excited to give back to them at an event that has been so meaningful in my life.

You can learn more about their journey on their blog or on Facebook. You also can donate to their cause here. All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation and their mission to conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections.

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