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ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, JINGLE!

Thousands of runners and walkers, along with their children and their pets, are taking to the streets of the Little Rock River Market/downtown area for the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk, benefiting the Arthritis Foundation and honoring Dr. Jasen Chi.

Story by Jillian McGehee | Photo by Sara Blancett

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk Little Rock is a fun and festive event for a serious cause. Benefiting the Arthritis Foundation, the family-friendly fundraiser is also honoring an individual who takes his job seriously, but with a grin and fun attitude.

As an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jasen Chi improves people’s lives. For his dedication to OrthoArkansas and the Arthritis Foundation, Jasen is the medical honoree for the Dec. 1 Jingle Bell Run/Walk. “I am extremely humbled by such recognition,” he says. “I feel I represent everyone in the field of medicine who deals with musculoskeletal diseases in saying that such recognition represents a world of thanks as it is a daily challenge for us to care for our arthritis patients and help them attain a better quality of life.”  

Organizations like the Arthritis Foundation are the backbone for people dealing with arthritis, Jasen says. “Patients newly diagnosed with arthritis and rheumatologic disorders often turn to the Arthritis Foundation first as they look to learn about their disease, and then they discover all of the support the foundation provides.”

With more than 100 varieties, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, Jasen notes. “For many forms of arthritis, there is often a genetic link that makes an individual more susceptible to developing arthritis. Over 27 million Americans suffer from arthritis. Roughly 300,000 children in the United States have juvenile arthritis.”

Jasen credits Angela Harris, development director of the local Arthritis Foundation, for getting him out in the community to talk about the disease. “She is my right hand when it comes to outreach in the community as she schedules and plans talks and events for me so we can educate individuals.”

On a typical day, Jasen doesn’t get home to his wife, Thuy, and four small children, ages 4 and under, until 10 p.m. He holds clinic hours at OrthoArkansas every week-day, alternating between the Kanis and North Little Rock offices. He’s usually finished with his appointments by 6 p.m., and then patient rounds begin at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock and North Little Rock. “In between all of this, family time is important,” Jasen adds, noting that his family is his “greatest asset.”

Born in Taipei, Taiwain, Jasen and his family moved to Little Rock 25 years ago to become involved in the restaurant industry. They operate Chi’s Chinese Cuisine, Sekisui Little Rock, Sushi Café, RJ Tao, Haagen Dazs Little Rock with more to come next year. On the weekends, Jasen can be found at one of the restaurants, taking care of customers and working with the staff. Sunday mornings are dedicated to working at Chi’s with his father and mother, Bill and Lulu, whom he calls his “greatest supporters.”

Jasen joined OrthoArkansas seven years ago after completing his rheumatology fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “It is a brotherhood of 24 of the best physicians I know and I love working with them every day.”

In addition to the Little Rock event, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk Hot Springs is happening Saturday, Dec. 8. For more information on the holiday-themed events, featuring costume contests and fun prizes, visit www.arkansasjinglebellrun.org.