DETROIT — Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will play with some extra motivation in Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers.
As event chairman for the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for a fourth year, Howard will donate $50 for every save he makes during the game to the foundation for its Camp Dakota program.
“Well it runs in my family,” Howard said. “Rheumatoid Arthritis runs in our family and it’s just something that hits close to home and since I’m in this position where I can give back, I do.”
The Arthritis Foundation is the largest national nonprofit organization that supports more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Founded in 1948, with its headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. They are also the largest private, nonprofit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $450 million in research grants since 1948.
"It’s affected a lot of my family members," Howard said. "So like I said, it hits close to home and me being in the position that I’m in, I’m able to give back to a cause that affects so many people. It feels good.”
With a unique form of donation dependent on his performance on the ice made for a special way for Howard to give back.
“It’s a different way,” he said. “I mean I could always give a mask or give equipment but to match a dollar amount to every single save I make, makes for a fun night.”
The donation will benefit the Camp Dakota program, a week long summer camp that takes place in Lapeer, Michigan, specially designed for children with disabilities. The program provides 60 children that have been diagnosed with a form of arthritis to spend seven days with other children from the state of Michigan who suffer from the disease. Michigan is home to more than 10,000 young people that have arthritis.
Additionally, the Detroit Jingle Bell Run/Walk will occur on the same day as Howard’s game and is the largest holiday 5K-race series aimed to fight arthritis. Participants are encouraged to wear holiday-themed costumes and tie jingle bells to their shoelaces with the top fundraiser receiving an autographed Red Wings jersey and winner of best costume receiving a signed photo of Howard.
Howard will also shoot a PSA to help raise awareness and provide autographed items to be used as incentives for future fundraisers.
“Anyone can get arthritis,” he said. “From newborn babies to professional athletes, like me. It’s a very painful disease that limits mobility and stops people from doing simple things or the things they love most, like walking or even holding their grandchild.”
The Arthritis Foundation offers information and tools to help people live a better life with arthritis. Whether it is advice from medical experts to specialized arthritis self-management or exercise classes, the Arthritis Foundation provides amenities at Arthritis.org for people suffering from the disorder.
The Jingle Bell Run will take place in Detroit for the first time and is one of three different winter races to raise awareness for arthritis in Michigan. The first race occurred in Portage last month, and Grand Rapids will host this year's final race on Dec. 13, one week after the event in Detroit.
Beginning at the Compuware Building in downtown Detroit, the route will go past Comerica Park, Ford Field and Greektown as well as Woodward Avenue and the Riverwalk.
To register for the Detroit Jingle Bell Run/Walk or make a donation to arthritis research, CLICK HERE.