Over the Labor Day weekend, Jeff Krakoff ’86, of Upper St. Clair, was joined by eight other cyclists in a ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC, along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath biking trails, to raise awareness and funds for the Arthritis Foundation.
Jeff decided to transform the initial idea of a long ride into a fund-raiser called ArthRIDEis. First diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 18 years ago, he manages his condition with medication and regular exercise, including biking.
“Biking has really been a help for me physically and also emotionally,” he said.
Even after months of training with his group, Jeff came close to stopping short of finishing the ride because of arthritis pain.
“There were times when I had severe pain in my hands, wrists, and knees, especially the last night before we rode from Harpers Ferry to Washington, DC,” he said, but he was motivated to fight through the pain and complete the ride. “I hope our journey shows that people with arthritis can still participate in strenuous activity.”
Other members of the group include Kurt Meissner, Vic Walczak, and Jon and Ellen Hart, of Upper St. Clair; Pete Chiste, of Peters Township; Craig and Laura Hoffman, of Bethel Park; and Lori Heinecke, of South Park.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.5 million people in the United States and is a serious disease causing severe joint pain and inflammation, as the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, often with devastating effects.
The ArthRIDEis campaign has received 103 donations and raised nearly $5,500 for the Arthritis Foundation. To donate, please go to Jeff Krakoff’s campaign pageand join Jeff and his riding group in the fight against arthritis. For more information or how to get involved, contact the Arthritis Foundation at 412-250-3341.
The Arthritis Foundation is committed to raising awareness and reducing the impact of arthritis, which strikes one in every five adults and 300,000 children, and is the nation’s leading cause of disability. To conquer this painful, debilitating disease, the Arthritis Foundation supports advocacy and research and provides empowering programs and information.