Jill Pollock, a 20-year-old resident of the 109, is an active runner with osteoarthritis. She believes in living a healthy lifestyle and is determined to stay active and fit even with the obstacle of severe arthritis in both of her knees.
She demonstrates her belief by running in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. The event is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at 2300 W. Seventh Street in Fort Worth, just east of Montgomery Plaza.
“I’m probably only speeding the process up by the running that I do,” Jill said, “but it’s hard to give up something you enjoy.”
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis found in the U.S. and is described as the “wear and tear” arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
“There’s supposed to be a gel sack between your bones and cartilage in your knees to prevent grinding,” Jill said, “but I don’t have that.”
Jill was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when she was only 13 years old, but has been determined to run through her trials and maintain her health.
“I like running because you don’t have to think about it,” Jill said. “You can just go.”
Jill’s case of osteoarthritis is so severe that she will have to have knee replacements before she turns 30. She runs to stay fit, but is also aware of the risks and her limitations.
“A lot of it is just knowing your body and what your limits are and being willing to stop,” Jill said.
Not only has Jill run several 5K (3.1 miles) races, she also has recently completed her first half marathon in Fort Worth.
“I decided to run (the Fort Worth Half Marathon) mainly because I wanted one of those 13.1 (mile) stickers on my car,” Jill quipped, “but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”
Jill described the race as exhilarating, painful and fantastic.
“It was more of a challenge mentally than physically,” Jill said, “but I loved crossing the finish line.”
Although the half marathon she ran in November was long and grueling, Jill has not been discouraged. In fact, she is already signed up to run another race in Orlando, Fla., in February.
“I’m not too stressed out about it,” Jill said. “It helps that I’ve already done one.”
Jill also plans to run this year’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, which is specifically geared toward raising funds for people suffering with the disease.
“A definite reason I’m running is for the benefit of arthritis,” Jill said.
Jill trains others to run and stay fit as a hobby and believes that if you want to become a dedicated runner, it is completely worth it and necessary to stay healthy.
“You can make time for anything you want to do and being healthy should be something you want to do,” Jill said.
Statistics indicate that more than 60 percent of the U.S. population is overweight with 20 percent considered clinically obese, according to the Self Improvement Community, a health-related website (www.selfgrowth.com).
In her mind, the current statistics about obesity in the U.S. are “absolutely ridiculous.” Jill shuns excuses not to work out or eat right if your life is at stake.
“I like what I do and I like helping others to do it, too,” Jill said.
Anyone wishing to attend or participate in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk may visit www.arthritis.org/jingle-bell-run.php for more information.