The Arthritis Walk is TOMORROW!

The Upper Midwest Region chapter of the Arthritis Foundation is having its annual ARTHRITIS WALK tomorrow morning, and I’m excited to be taking photos of it again. I also decided at the last minute to join my friend’s team, The Young Adults, and participate as a walker and fundraiser in addition to taking photos. This walk is always a fun event and it’s inspiring to see how supportive people are of the arthritis cause — whether contributing donations, walking in the event, or just cheering others on.

Here is my personal fundraising page for the walk if you would like to support the walk and make a donation to the Arthritis Foundation:

Here’s the link for the home page of the event, which has a lot of general information about it:

Thank you so much!


JAM 2012 – tomorrow!

JAM team members, Bloomington, MN 2011

Tomorrow morning the Arthritis Foundation, Upper Midwest Region chapter, will be hosting its annual JAM (Juvenile Arthritis March) fundraising walk at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. I will be arriving at the event at an insanely early hour to get ready to take photos of the walk. This will be my third year photographing JAM and I’m looking forward to it, of course! It’s always so wonderful to see all of the families and kids who participate to raise money to find a cure for arthritis. Coming together as a group for an important cause really is an inspiration (maybe sappy, but true). I’ll post some of the photos of the walk soon – hope I get some good ones!

For more information about JAM and how to get involved, click here:

2012 Juvenile Arthritis March: Mall of America 

Casino Night

Sunday night I took photos at Justin Morneau’s Casino Night which has become an annual fundraising event put on by the Arthritis Foundation’s North Central chapter. Justin Morneau is the first baseman for the Minnesota Twins baseball team and started the event in 2009 to raise funds and create awareness about arthritis. He became involved with the Arthritis Foundation after his niece was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age two. This was the second year I took photographs at the event as a volunteer, and I think I managed to get some good shots (I hope).

Casino Night sold out this year with over 400 people attending the event. The guests were excited to have the chance to socialize and “gamble” with Twins players while raising money to go toward funding research and services for people suffering from arthritis. Taking photos at Casino Night was a lot of fun, but it was also an added bonus to be able to talk with friends I’ve made through volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation for the last 11 years. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ve been lucky to meet some very kind, supportive, inspiring and fantastic people while doing volunteer work. I can’t recommend it enough.

If you would like to see some of the photos from Casino Night, check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Shutterfly site:


JAM 2010, Mall of America

This Saturday is the annual Juvenile Arthritis March (JAM) which is held at the Mall of America in Bloomington.  It’s a pretty big event with families walking together in order to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation.  I took photos at JAM last year for the first time which was also the beginning of my volunteer work photographing other Arthritis Foundation events.  I’m really looking forward to helping out again (despite needing to arrive there at 6:30 AM).  It’s inspiring to see so many people coming together to work hard for such a personal cause.  All of the kids (and adults) wearing blue T-shirts last year were people who had some form of arthritis.  I was 18 years old when I was diagnosed with RA, which is very young, but it’s nothing compared to the courageous little kids who are forced to deal with this debilitating disease at such young ages.  Suddenly having the intense physical and emotional pain of RA thrust upon me at age 18 was incredibly devastating, yet I’m very grateful I was able to have a normal pain-free childhood. Many of the kids who participate in JAM each year will most likely never be able to experience that.  Finding a cure for arthritis is important for everyone who suffers from the disease – but especially for the little ones.  No child should have to suffer from constant pain.