An annual highlight of the Arthritis Foundation’s Conference of Champions is our Evening of Honors – a time when we celebrate outstanding achievements of our most engaged volunteers and partners.
This year’s ceremony was hosted by Pete Scalia, co-anchor of WBNS 10TV’s “This Morning” news program in Columbus, Ohio. Diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis at age 30, Pete has been very open about the challenges of living with RA and is actively involved with the Arthritis Foundation.
We presented Champion Awards to several individuals who stood out most in 2018 for their support of the arthritis community:
In Central Ohio, Teresa created the first national team for the Walk to Cure Arthritis with her company, NovaCare, spanning several states. She was also instrumental in raising thousands of more dollars for the arthritis cause through a variety of events and serves as the local leadership board’s network leader for the new Live Yes! Arthritis Network.
Committed to our cause for more than 15 years, Julie, who has two children with arthritis, has made fighting this disease a top priority. She has taken on many Arthritis Foundation leadership roles, including taking charge of fortifying Camp MASH, teen retreats and other family gatherings in the Denver area. She and her family have raised nearly $100,000 to battle arthritis.
A great friend of the Arthritis Foundation for over 20 years, Dr. Box is perhaps the best known and most respected rheumatologist in the Kansas City area. He has given more than $250,000 to make a profound impact on our mission. In addition, he supports fundraisers like Art for Arthritis by donating premium seats to popular concerts and sporting events.
This exhilarating biking event, marking its 18th anniversary, raised more than $1 million in 2018 for the Arthritis Foundation. Three participants have gone the extra distance: Darren and Mary Gonser and Adrienne Rubin. Darren has ridden almost 9,000 miles since 2000, while his wife helps keep riders supplied and motivated. Adrienne is the event’s top fundraiser, generating over $300,000.
In addition, we recognized Jasvinder Singh, MD, MPH, with our $10,000 Lee C. Howley Prize for Arthritis Scientific Research. Not only is Dr. Singh a professor, rheumatologist and prolific researcher, but he always makes time to review Arthritis Foundation literature to ensure the information we provide is accurate and cutting-edge.
Receiving our Corporate Impact Award was Amgen, a company that’s turning the tide on serious, life-interrupting diseases like arthritis. This year, Amgen observes 20 years since making available to the public, for the very first time, Enbrel, a miraculous drug for so many who combat arthritis.
The evening’s biggest award – the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service – went to Michael V. Ortman. Michael served as chair of the Arthritis Foundation board of directors for two years, 2014-16. He was key to helping us reorganize as a united organization focused on more efficiently and effectively helping even more people with arthritis live their best life.
Entertaining us at the Evening of Honors was Steven Battey, who recently cofounded Singing for Superheroes, an organization that helps make kids with arthritis and other chronic diseases realize they are not alone. This Grammy Award-winning artist fired up the crowd with his performance of “Body of Steel,” a lively song that raises awareness about JA.
Sharing their personal stories of Living Yes! were 14-year-old Bede Marciari and her mother, Julia Marciari-Alexander, who are staunch supporters in the Baltimore area. They were joined by another daughter-mother team from Maryland, Emily and Cindy Mogel, who also inspired us, including 18-year-old Emily’s performance on the keyboard.
Thank you to all of our loyal volunteers and partners nationwide, especially those we honored in Friday evening’s celebration.
- 2018 Conference of Champions: Moving the Movement Forward
- Learn More About Our Conference of Champions