News: Members of MCB Hawaii community support 2012 Hawaii Arthritis Walk
Story by Kristen Wong
HONOLULU — The sons of a Marine Corps Base Hawaii Marine and sailor helped to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation – Hawaii Branch and joined participants at Kakaako Waterfront Park for the 2012 Hawaii Arthritis Walk, May 20.
Base residents Tyler Holcomb, 13, and Logan Jordan, 13, along with friends and family, supported the annual event which raises money for arthritis education and research.
“Every neighbor on our street is here,” said Jordan’s mother, Becca. “I’m ecstatic when I see everyone coming to support [the cause]. Walking a mile might not be anything for you or me, but for someone with arthritis, that’s an amazing accomplishment.”
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band and the Marine Corps color guard also supported the opening ceremonies before the official walk. Participants chose to walk either one or three miles around the park. The event also included vendors, activities, and refreshments.
Jordan is the juvenile honoree this year, while Holcomb was the honoree in 2010. Jordan and his team, “Logan’s Heroes,” raised more than $7,000 this year, exceeding his original goal of $5,000. Jordan
was also chosen to represent the state of Hawaii at the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit from April 16 to 18. He shared his story with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., along with several families representing other states. Jordan was also able to meet Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka.
Though many people may think arthritis is only a condition of older adults, the Arthritis Foundation estimated in 2007 that there were more than 290,000 children in the U.S. with juvenile arthritis.
Holcomb has juvenile ankylosina spondylitis, which he has had for more than four years. His mother, Kim, said he has to be wary of certain sports such as football or wrestling.
“We’re doing [the walk] for all the kids who are suffering,” Kim Holcomb said.
Holcomb and his team, “Team Ty” also exceeded their fundraising goal, raising more than $600.
“If it weren’t for the support of my family and my great doctor and her nurses I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Tyler Holcomb said on his fundraising page. “Four years ago I couldn’t walk. I was in a wheelchair. But now I am doing the things I love best, riding my scooter and running around with my friends.”
Tyler Holcomb said he wanted to help “spread awareness for juvenile arthritis and all the kids who have it.” As the 2010 honoree, he was able to meet and make friends with other children who have arthritis. He met a very good friend while he was at the advocacy summit in 2010. Though sometimes, Tyler Holcomb said having arthritis can make him feel lonely, he now has friends who can relate to him.
Jordan was diagnosed with polyarticular and systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis by the age of 3. Like Holcomb, Jordan’s condition prevents him from playing contact sports.
Both boys went through a period when they were unable to walk, but both are now active.
“My mom taught me at an early age that I have two choices: ‘I can control this disease or I can let this disease control me,’” Jordan writes on his fundraising page. “I have found that having a positive attitude, a great support system of family and friends, a healthy diet, an exercise routine and by ‘listening to my body’ well. That is the way I live with, control and manage my JRA.”
Despite his constant pain, Jordan is active in school as a peer mediator through the Peer Education Program at Kailua Intermediate School, which teaches students to become educators themselves.
“[Jordan] doesn’t use his issues as an excuse,” said Cindy Jenness, Peer Education Program coordinator at Kailua Intermediate School. “He’s compassionate [and makes] people feel they belong.”
Jenness described Jordan as upbeat and caring. When the students in the PEP were assigned to complete a research project, Logan shared information about JRA with his peers, not only with a slide presentation and brochures, but personal experiences as well. She said she was impressed he could talk about his experiences.
“I think the kids really responded to his presentation,” Jenness said.
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle declared May 4, 2012 as Michael Logan Jordan Day in honor of his achievements. Jordan received his proclamation in writing and officially met the mayor on May 2.
“When he came to my office, he was so positive, upbeat, outgoing, and giving of himself to the community that I felt privileged to be in his presence,” Carlisle said. “I was impressed by how he helped raise awareness about arthritis and touched hundreds of lives by donating his birthday gifts to Toys for Tots for seven years. His family said he was very excited about getting his own day. I was more excited to be
given the privilege to declare May 4, 2012 as Michael Logan Jordan Day.”
On May 4, Jordan, his family and friends drummed up support for the Arthritis Foundation during lunch hour at Kailua Intermediate School. Students signed pledges to support people with disabilities and were
given the opportunity to donate to the foundation.
“What a perfect match for the organization and for him,” said Toni Whittington, school counselor, Kailua Intermediate School.
Jordan spends time with Whittington during school, helping her in the office or with “at-risk” students in the school garden. Like Jenness, Whittington said Jordan does not use his pain to get out of his responsibilities. Jordan once planned to make up his mile run for physical education class, while still in pain, but his teacher did not want his pain to become worse and delayed the make up run.
“I really have to reel him in and say no, not today,” Whittington said. “I really admire him.”
Jordan’s pain can change from day to day. On more painful days, he must make adjustments, from the clothes he wears to the way he travels from class to class. Sometimes, if the pain is unbearable enough, Jordan will close his eyes for a moment, and visualize
a happier place — the beach.
“I feel lucky that I live in Hawaii … [I have] nice friends, [I enjoy] the beach,” Jordan said. “I just have a good feeling about it. What a life it’s been here, you really can’t beat it.”
Jordan said he is thankful for the support he received, and honored to be chosen as the Arthritis Walk juvenile honoree.
“I hope to see everybody [at the walk] next year,” Jordan said.