2017 conference of champions

Special Guests

Clark Middleton

Clark Middleton

Actor Clark Middleton has spent a lifetime defying the limits of arthritis. Diagnosed with the disease at age 4, he quickly learned the importance of being independent. Having had 10 joints replaced – including both knees and hips, a shoulder and an elbow – Clark sought solace in theater, channeling emotions from his own experiences into acting. He’s appeared on stage, in numerous TV and film roles, including the “Twin Peaks: The Return” series, and coaches other actors. Also starring on NBC’s “The Blacklist,” Hulu’s “The Path” and this year in “The Iceman Cometh” on Broadway with Denzel Washington, Clark advocates for others with arthritis, and he has actively participated in the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy Summit and Arthritis Support Network events.

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck

Jennifer Mulholland and Jeff Shuck are co-leaders of the consulting firm, Plenty, which specializes in working with nonprofits like ours to raise more money, harness more support and create more impact. Both have extensive experience in helping transform health organizations to create more harmony and collaboration and unlock the potential for growth. Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah and holds certifications in several fields, from coaching to healing and well-being. Jeff has his MBA from Kellogg School of Management and is also a talented musician and songwriter. Together at Plenty, they are working to make a meaningful difference through holistic innovation – connecting head with heart.

Annamarie & Ginamarie Russo

Annamarie & Ginamarie Russo

Identical twins Annamarie and Ginamarie Russo grew up familiar with the limitations of arthritis. Ginamarie was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 13. Her sister didn’t show arthritis symptoms until around 30. Annamarie is catching up with her twin sister’s experiences and learning how to best cope with her disease. Arthritis Foundation-funded research has advanced treatment options, and the Russo twins are benefiting from the progress we’ve made possible. As twins sharing the same illness, they’ve had multiple appearances on NBC’s “Today” show, and they competed on the VH1 reality show, “Twinning.” They are always at each other’s side, encouraging each other through life’s daily challenges and determined to inspire others dealing with arthritis.

Pete Scalia

Pete Scalia

A Cincinnati native and graduate of Ohio University, Pete Scalia is co-anchor of WBNS 10TV’s “This Morning” news program in Columbus, Ohio. He has worked at several television stations and production facilities in his home state and is an accomplished musician who still sings and plays keyboards with his dad in their band, Snidely Whiplash. Diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis at age 30, and having undergone several joint replacement surgeries, Pete has been very open about the challenges of living with RA and is actively involved with the Arthritis Foundation, including the Walk to Cure Arthritis, Jingle Bell Run and Classic Auto Show and Cruise-In. We’re honored that he will be hosting this year’s Evening of Honors ceremony.

Rob Wicall

Rob Wicall

All of his life, Rob Wicall has wanted to make people happy, which makes him happy. Rob got his degree in marketing at the University of Texas, but got his zeal from dramatics, athletics and making people smile, including stints as a juggler, unicyclist and water ski performer. He spent 11 years as “The Coyote” mascot for the San Antonio Spurs, a character that came naturally to him, and he was named NBA Mascot of the Year in 2014. He retired from the role after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis. In 2016, Rob was honoree of the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run in San Antonio and now chairs our local leadership board there.