Jingle Bell Run returns to New Westminster Quay
Late November is a busy time for university students. They’re just coming off mid-terms and they’re preparing for exams in December. But that’s not stopping Caroline Czekajlo, a second year English major at the University of British Columbia, a 54 of her closest friends from participating in Sunday’s Jingle Bell Walk and Run along the boardwalk at Westminster Quay.
It’s a cause that hits close to home.
That’s because one of the members of Czekajlo’s Beta Kappa chapter of the Alpha Omicron Pi women’s fraternity suffers from the crippling joint disease. So all of the members will be traveling out from the UBC campus or their homes around Metro Vancouver to join the walk.
“We’ve seen the effects of arthritis first hand,” says Czekajlo.
Sometimes the members of the fraternity have to chip in to help their sister type a paper when the pain and stiffness in her fingers gets to debilitating.
Arthritis is normally associated with the elderly but one in 1,000 Canadian children are affected by juvenile arthritis. Yet 80 per cent of respondents to a recent Ipsos Reid survey were unaware of that startling statistic.
By walking for their frat sister, Czekajlo and her fellow Beta Kappas are hoping to raise awareness in that 80 per cent.
It’s also the Alpha Omicon Pi way. The international fraternity was founded in 1897 at Columbia University in New York and now has 141,000 initiates in 188 chapters. Since 1967, they’ve had a philanthropic connection to arthritis research, raising more than $1.5 million.
The Jingle Bell Walk and Run is the Beta Kappa’s second fundraising initiative in recent weeks. They also organized a kickball tournament out at UBC that attracted almost 200 participants to play the old schoolyard game that is a mashup of soccer and baseball.
The Jingle Bell Walk and Run has routes of one kilometre and five kilometres along the boardwalk. It starts at 10 a.m., with registration beginning 8 a.m. at the Inn at the Quay. For more information go to www.jbwr.ca