Hannah Schmenk, Keller Middle School fifth-grader, with Jennifer Torres from the Arthritis Foundation of Houston, thank her fellow students for coming together to donate to the cause.
Keller Middle School students band together to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation of Houston.
Hannah Schmenk is a fifth grader at Keller Middle School. She enjoys playing with her dog, dancing with her friends and volunteering for the children’s ministry at her church, but one things sets her apart from the other kids in her school. At only ten years old, Hannah suffers from arthritis.
The onset of Hannah’s arthritis symptoms started at age four when her body began hurting.
“Hannah was always a tough little kid,” Hannah’s mom Jordona Schmenk said. “She would fall and scrape her knee and just keep running. I knew if she said she was hurting, she really meant it.”
When she was eight years old, after several years of tests and being told that she was just going through growing pains, Hannah was diagnosed with poly-articular juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Juvenile arthritis is a condition that affects 300,000 children in the United States alone.
“We really want to raise awareness about juvenile arthritis,” Schmenk said. “If that many children have already been diagnosed, think of how many others there could be whose condition is going misdiagnosed or dismissed altogether.”
Last year, Hannah and her family decided to get involved with the Arthritis Foundation of Houston for their annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Hannah’s team, the Snowdogs, raised over $8,150. This year, Hannah has been chosen as the 2015 Youth Honoree for the walk and has big goals for fundraising.
“There are over 25,000 kids with arthritis in the state of Texas,” said Hannah. “My goal is to raise $1 for each child.”
Currently Hannah is in fourth place for the highest individual fundraiser and in fifth place for the highest fundraising team. In an effort to help Hannah meet her goal, her school decided to host a mini Jingle Bell Run in her honor.
“We knew that many of our kids would be unable to participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk in The Woodlands,” Keller Middle School counselor Kelley Hall said. “We decided we’d host our own walk right here at Keller for the students and their parents to support Hannah.”
Over 638 students and 80 parents, school staff and faculty gathered outside the building December 4 to run/walk for Hannah. For their efforts, the campus raised $1,267 for Hannah’s Snowdogs team.
The Arthritis Foundation of Houston’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk is Saturday, Dec. 12 in The Woodlands at Northshore Park. If you would like to participate in the fight to end arthritis, please visit www.jbr.org/thewoodlands or click here to visit Hannah’s team page.