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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

The 24th annual Jingle Bell Run, Walk, and Wheel

by Kyle Reid

For 24 years, members of the community have been running, walking, and wheeling in support of Community Living Essex County. On Sunday, runners once again took to the streets of Essex, near Ken Knapp Ford, to support individuals living with intellectual disabilities in Essex County.

  The annual Jingle Bell Run, Walk, and Wheel has become a main fundraiser for Community Living Essex County for nearly a quarter of a century, and this year was no different as 375 people came out for the event, nearly doubling the total number of participants from last year’s run, walk and, wheel.

  The large turnout delighted Community Living Essex County’s Manager of Community Relations and Resource Development, Tony DeSantis, who said that while the organization encourages pre-registration for the event, he was thrilled 100 people registered the day of the event.

  Participants signed up to participate in either a 10km run, or the 5km, or a 2km walk, run, or wheel. Smiles were plenty and spirits were high for all participants who enjoyed a morning of activity in the crisp fall air.

  Some runners showed a little holiday spirit, celebrating the season a little early with some Christmas-themed costumes; a tradition DeSantis said the organization encourages to add a little bit of festive fun to the event.

  Medals were presented to all participants who were also encouraged to collect pledges for a chance to win raffle prizes. DeSantis said it is too early to tell how much this year’s event raised. Over the past 24 years, however, it has raised thousands of dollars in support of over 650 people with an intellectual disability, and their families, throughout Essex County.

  DeSantis thanked the many supporters and sponsors who continue to lend a helping hand to the organization and make the annual event a success. Community Living Essex County partners with Walkers and Runners Around the County of Essex (WRACE) to host the event, and gets assistance from a number of community organizations and businesses to pull off the fun run.

  “Our organization is extremely appreciative of those folks who help out and continue to help out,” DeSantis said. 


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