Jingle Bell returns for 28th year

November 14, 2018

Dr. Ryan Sullivan is passionate about helping people with arthritis.

Dr. Sullivan works at replacing and repairing hips and knees at OAK Orthopedics in Bradley, where he is enthusiastic about the area and the practice he has gotten an opportunity to join.

Dr. Sullivan is this year’s medical honoree for the Jingle Bell Run. Sullivan will work raising donations, raising participants and raising awareness for the annual fundraiser that battles arthritis.

The Jingle Bell Run, the area’s only event raising funds for the Arthritis Foundation, will take place Sunday, Dec. 2, at 9 a.m. at Kankakee Community College. This year’s event is the 28th annual, making it one of the oldest Christmas traditions in the area. The race has raised more than $600,000 over the years, with virtually all of that going to the charity, because most of the local supplies and refreshments are donated by area businesses.

In addition to the run, walk and fun walk, the Jingle Bell this year will include a Jingle in the Water at the Kankakee Area YMCA. To Jingle in the Water, contact Darlene Cipcich at 815-351-0822.

“Arthritis is a progressive and disabling disease,” Dr. Sullivan says. “It directly affects a person’s quality of life. It causes people to change their regular activities.”

In his practice, Dr. Sullivan has the goal of getting his patients back to the activities they enjoy. He sees patients from their early 30s to their late 80s.

Genetics, he says, play a big role in arthritis. “If you are going to get it, you are going to get it,” he says. He encourages people, in their exercise, to go to activities that have less impact on the joints. That means more biking and swimming and less jogging.

Yet, he says, you see plenty of marathon runners who never get arthritis. “I don’t discourage people from being active,” he says. “I don’t tell people not to run.”

He has a background in athletics himself. As a student at Immaculate Conception High School, he played football as a running back and middle linebacker. In track, he also ran the 400 meters and threw the discus.

As a youth, he would accompany his father, Dan, on rounds. Dan Sullivan was a cardiologist, who eventually became the chief medical officer at Elmhurst Hospital. His mother, Joan, was a respiratory therapist. Ryan Sullivan is the oldest of three children. He is married to Melissa, a nurse at Loyola. The couple tied the knot in 2016.

Ryan went on to Northwestern as a chemistry major. An avid participant in the intramural sports of softball, volleyball and flag football, he helped mentor and teach young

He was also never far from helping others. He worked in labs at Northwestern Hospital and Children’s Memorial Research Center. He volunteered at a community health clinic, helping with patient intake. He also volunteered with the Global Medical Relief Organization, organizing medical supplies.

He also continues the medical volunteering. In 2014, he went on a trip to Columbia, treating children with club feet and congenital hip problems who would have no access to medical care otherwise. He has also helped at Shriners Hospital in Chicago and volunteered to man the medical tent at the Chicago Marathon including one year when the weather was so hot that people collapsed from heat exhaustion.

To register for this year’s jingle bell, go to JBR.org/Chicago.

Prices vary depending on whether you register for the 5k run, the 5k competitive walk or the fun walk. Either way, you save money by registering early. If you plan on signing up race day, come at least an hour early.

All finishers will receive a medal, in addition to age group and overall awards. This year’s shirt has been redesigned and is a long-sleeved one.

There will be a costume contest and an ugly Christmas sweater contest. All participants will receive refreshments, donated by local merchants, including hot pizza from Chicago Dough, hot chocolate from Oberweis, hot soup from the Bennett-Curtis House and water from Culligan.

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