Arthritis Foundation Awards Those Who Made a Significant Impact in the Arthritis Community

Awards presented at Conference of Champions where hundreds gather annually to rally and strategize about conquering arthritis

ATLANTA (Nov. 8, 2016) – Nearly 400 people from around the country attended the annual Arthritis Foundation Conference of Champions from November 3-4 in Denver to connect with and learn from experts, influencers and fellow volunteers as well as to recognize those who have made progress in medical discovery for the treatment of arthritis and those who have positively impacted the arthritis community. The celebration of these award winners was held during the Foundation’s Evening of Honors event, hosted by Daytime Emmy Award-winning comedic actor, licensed physician and co-host of the NBC TV hit, “American Ninja Warrior,” Matt Iseman who also faces the everyday challenges of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Iseman is one of the 1.5 million people diagnosed with RA, an autoimmune type of arthritis, in the U.S. In search of a cure, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy Immunology and the University of California, San Diego, identified a new drug approach for the treatment of RA by focusing on the cells directly responsible for cartilage damage in affected joints. As a result of their work and dedication, the Arthritis Foundation awarded the research team the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Scientific Research, which recognizes the best original research conducted in the U.S. by an interdisciplinary team that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The Foundation’s highest national award for volunteer service, the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service, was presented to Colleen Ryan of Long Beach, Calif., for her outstanding work with the arthritis community over the past decade. This annual award recognizes a volunteer who best exemplifies the highest standards of concern and commitment to the arthritis community and provides leadership and direction to the Arthritis Foundation, giving generously to help others and challenging others to give their best. Ryan has served on numerous Foundation committees and task teams. This year, for the third time, she chaired the Juvenile Arthritis Conference, which was the largest in the national event’s 32-year history, drawing more than 2,200 participants.

Additionally, the Foundation presented Champion Awards to the following individual volunteers and volunteer groups who demonstrate excellence in leadership and commitment to furthering the Foundation’s mission:

  • Stanford and Adrienne Rubin, southern California: The Rubins have supported the Arthritis Foundation since 1965 via leadership positions and fundraising initiatives. Mr. Rubin received the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service in 1988 and over the years the couple has raised millions of dollars to conquer arthritis.
  • The Walk to Cure Arthritis Team Mayro’s Milers, Cincinnati: Mayro Kanning has undergone 25 surgeries for her arthritis, including knee and hip replacements and operations on her neck, back and hands. Over the past 13 years, her Walk to Cure Arthritis team, Mayro’s Milers, has raised nearly half a million dollars for the Arthritis Foundation.
  • Classic Auto Show & Cruise-In Committee, Dublin, Ohio: Over the past 34 years, the Classic Auto Show & Cruise-In, led by volunteers Jeffrey Brashares and Andy Trux, has grown to be the second largest charity classic auto show in the Midwest, while also raising more than $2 million for the Arthritis Foundation. The event requires more than 200 volunteers and is the Foundation’s largest grossing fundraiser in the region.
  • Lear Corporation and Bill Diehl, Southfield, Mich.: Lear Corporation is a Fortune 500 company focused on the manufacturing and distribution of automotive seating and electrical systems. In 2005, local Foundation Leadership Board Chair Bill Diehl introduced the Lear Corporation to the Foundation. Over the years the company has continued to support the organization, both monetarily and via company executives holding key volunteer roles. The Foundation is proud to honor the Lear Corporation and salute Diehl for the introduction.

Several companies and organizations were recognized in the Circle of Champions for their efforts with the Arthritis Foundation, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Massage Envy, the Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity and Foundation and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs. CVS Health was presented with the Corporate Impact Award for engaging with the Arthritis Foundation to make the biggest impact possible on people with arthritis.

In addition to sponsoring the 2016 Conference of Champions meeting with Pfizer, Novartis, Abbie and Amgen, Eli Lilly and Company also graciously sponsored the Evening of Honors event, making the awards celebration possible.

To learn more about the Arthritis Foundation and its 2016 Annual Meeting, please visit:

Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers per issue.