NBC26 Cares: Jingle in the Water
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
About one in three people in the United States are living with painful arthritis. The YWCA Green Bay-De Pere is teaming up with the Arthritis Foundation of Wisconsin for "Jingle in the Water." It's a fundraiser to help sufferers find relief.
Ellen DeKeyser is one of those people who deals with discomfort on a daily basis. The drugs she took to win her battle with breast cancer ended up triggering arthritis throughout her entire body.
"Every joint that you could name in the human body is where I'm feeling it," said DeKeyser.
Ellen began taking warm water aquatic classes at the YWCA in downtown Green Bay and immediately started feeling better.
"The water has been a real lifesaver for me," she said. "I'm able to run and jump. Things that I can't do on land."
Her condition improved so dramatically that she decided to become and instructor to help other arthritis sufferers.
"I'm seeing some wonderful things happen to some wonderful women."
One of those women is Joanne Albers of De Pere.
"I've seen weight loss for one thing, and my joints are much better," said Albers.
"They'll come back to class after being with us a couple weeks and say, 'Wow my knees didn't hurt this morning when I got out of bed. I made it down the steps' and to be part of that for somebody and help them make a difference in their life, I want to be able to expand that," said Stacey Swaer, YWCA Health and Wellness Coordinator.
The YWCA is expanding their program by holding "Jingle in the Water." It's a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation in Wisconsin.
"We are a volunteer driven organization and without partnerships like the YWCA, we would never be able to get our programs and services out to the people that we serve," explained Laura Liebert, District Director for the Arthritis Foundation's Upper Midwest Region.
Proceeds from "Jingle in the Water" will allow the foundation to continue searching for a cure and new treatments as well as connect sufferers with services.
"We have a camp for kids with arthritis. Over 6,000 kids in the state of Wisconsin are diagnosed right now with juvenile arthritis. We have a camp down in the Dells, Camp Mash, or make arthritis stop hurting. We have special days where we bring together the families with physician specialists to be able to ask questions," said Liebert.
Ellen DeKeyser is glad to be a part of the fundraising effort to keep the aquatics classes and other programs for arthritis sufferers going strong. She believes using the water to heal and raise money to help others regain their freedom is a win-win situation.
"(Arthritis) It's not going to get the better of me," said DeKeyser. "I feel great. I feel really great."
"Jingle in the Water" runs November 14-30.