Running becomes a family affair to battle arthritis


September 06, 1998|By Melinda Rice | Melinda Rice,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ANNAPOLIS carpenter Sean White isn't a track and field star. He isn't even an enthusiastic amateur runner. In fact, he does not run regularly and has competed in only two races in his adult life.

Yet White, 28, will compete next month in the Dublin International Marathon. He is part of a 20-member Joints In Motion team that includes his father and stepmother, Tom White and Kate Boland of Potomac. They are running because people like Susan Bolander of West River cannot.

Bolander, 36, has arthritis. The White/Boland family is running as part of a national Arthritis Foundation effort to raise money and awareness.

"We believe almost everybody has some dollars they give to a charitable cause," said Jan Thompson, executive director of the Southern Maryland branch of the Arthritis Foundation. The marathon is one way the organization solicits donations and gets the word out, he said.

Each participant in the race through downtown Dublin on Oct. 26 tries to raise at least $3,200 for the Arthritis Foundation. About one-third of that amount goes toward airfare, hotel accommodations, race entry fees and a uniform for the runner. The rest goes to support research and outreach programs conducted by the Arthritis Foundation.

Each individual or group that signs up is assigned an "honoree." For the White/Boland family, that is Bolander, who was diagnosed with arthritis 20 years ago, when she was 16.

"Before I had arthritis, I did a lot of fund raising," said Bolander. "I did every 'a-thon' you could think of. This is what I can do now."

She said the honorees are supposed to serve as an inspiration to the runners -- in part so they can know someone with the disease for which they are raising money, and to help them endure the marathon itself.

"This is not a very visible disease. People don't understand it," said Bolander. "When people raise money for something, they want to be able to look at you and see you're sick. But arthritis isn't like that."

fTC Sean White said he thinks it is neat that he will be running for Bolander. He likes the symbolism.

That is not to say he thinks it will be easy. Though he is on his feet all day as a carpenter, he is not a runner and is training only about once a week.

"If I have to, I'll walk it," he said.

His father was the first family member to get involved and soon enticed his wife and son to join. Tom White and Kate Boland are enthusiastic runners and thought joining the Arthritis Foundation marathon team would be a good way to combine their hobby with community spirit.

"If you're going to do a marathon, it might as well be for a worthwhile cause," Boland said.

Tom White's mother was from Belfast, and he holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland. This will be his first trip to Ireland, and he is taking five other family members in addition to his wife and son.

They plan to extend their trip after the race and turn it into a family vacation.

The rest of the 20-member team running for the Southern Maryland branch of the Arthritis Foundation will return to the United States. The team includes nine members from Annapolis, two from Edgewater, one from Severna Park and one from Crofton. The rest are from outside Anne Arundel County.

To get ready for the race, the team is training under the direction of Annapolitan Ben Moore, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel.

"The goal that we're shooting for is for them to finish the marathon and finish in good shape without being hurt," he said.

Moore will run with the group. The Dublin marathon will be the 60th marathon in which he has participated.

"This is certainly a worthwhile cause," he said. "Arthritis can be a very, very debilitating disease."

Information: 410-544-5433.

30th reunion

Members of the Annapolis High School Class of 1968 will head to Mayo Beach on Sept. 26 for a picnic to celebrate their 30th-year reunion, after a more formal event at the Loews Annapolis Hotel on Sept. 25.

Class members Leslie Carson and Michael Hubbard are in charge of the event.

Information: 410-216-9800 or 410-280-2285.

Republican women

The Republican Women of Anne Arundel County will conduct a general membership meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Republican headquarters on Forest Drive in Annapolis.

Candidates for the primaries in state legislative Districts 30, 31 // and 32, and County Council Districts 5, 6 and 7 will be there to answer questions.

The club, which conducts outreach programs in addition to its political activities, is seeking new members, said club spokeswoman Betty Pahr.

Information: 410-263-5252.

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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