Meet Our Teams
Meet the WYASO teams that raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis. We’ve been walking for awareness since 2012 and we’re taking a journey through the stars to Mars.
Are you going to join us this year?
If you’re here, you might be wondering how to register a team for Walk Your AS Off.
Registration is now open and you can register a NEW team here. We are launching on May 1st and we will be walking through to the end of May 2018. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Have you participated with us in the past? If yes, we can add you into an existing team. If that is the case, please send an email to email@example.com and we will get you set up with a team as quickly as possible.
The name of your team may be used for marketing and fundraising purposes.
Welcome and let’s get ready for a great year!
The SAA Home Team – Official Team for the Spondylitis Association of America – Los Angeles, California
Facebook: SAA Home Team
The Spondylitis Association of America was founded in 1984. SAA is the Largest NON-PROFIT in the US dedicated to Ankylosing Spondylitis and Related Diseases. Visit us at www.spondylitis.org.
Our mission at the Spondylitis Association of America is to be a leader in the quest to cure Ankylosing Spondylitis and related diseases, and to empower those affected to live life to the fullest.
Fitch Feet – Morgan Hill, Northern California
Facebook: Fitch Feet
Team Captain Karen Fitch leads a group of walkers in northern California. Karen is very active with her Fitch Feet’s Facebook page, and she is also an Official WYASO blogger.
Comment from Karen: I love my team of steppers. They all signed up to help collect steps & raise awareness. They all know that I have A.S. and they are super supportive.
Rockin’ Weebles: Weebles Kick A.S.
INTERNATIONAL TEAM: USA, INDIA, JAPAN, SOUTH AFRICA, NETHERLANDS
Facebook: Rockin’ Weebles
Team Captain Heather Stewart is also a member of our Board of Directors for Walk AS One. She has been a key player in ensuring that Walk Your AS Off is a success each year for the past six years.
Comment from Heather: Weebles Kick A.S. because Weebles wobble. (Some of us might weeble and wobble with A.S, but we don’t fall down. Check in with us on Facebook for updates, information,inspiration and fun.) Team Captains Heather Stewart & Erin Filipich invite you to join The Rockin’ Weebles. “We have walkers from all over the world! We’d love to have you join us from anywhere in the world you walk & live.” Do you get involved? There’s no pressure, simply wear a pedometer and track your daily steps or share the distance you walk, run or bike.
Endurance For AS – Pittsburgh, PA
Facebook: Endurance for AS
Team Captain Adrienne Taren’s group Endurance for AS is combined of endurance athletes and supporters of all levels kicking AS.
Comment from Adrienne: “I’m in Pittsburgh, in the last year of an MD-PhD (finally!) and was somewhat ironically diagnosed with AS in my first year of med school after 6 years of declining function. The doc who finally listened to me probably saved my career, and even got me back into running. This is my 4th year participating in WYASO, and the support each year always makes me cry at least a few times.”
The CL-A.S.-Y Walkers – Clarksville, Maryland
Facebook: The CL-A.S._Y Walkers
Comment from Team Captain Melinda: Hi Everyone! I live in Clarksville, Maryland, which is between Baltimore and Washington D.C. I am
Team Captain of The CL-A.S.-Y Walkers, which has members in Maryland and across the USA.
I deal with having A.S. and Crohn’s disease by practicing and teaching therapeutic yoga. In August I will be in the first graduating class anywhere to have a Master of Science degree in Yoga Therapy.
We’ve Got Your Back! For Fighting For Ankylosing Spondylitis – Santa Monica, California
Facebook: We’ve Got Your Back – Fighting for AS
Comment from Erica Levi, Team Captain: “My team is a mixed group of people. Most are from an AS support group.
Others do not have AS, but are friends and family of ASers. The funds we raise will go to help the charity I am starting called Fighting for AS: We’ve Got Your Back!”
Making Trax – Alexandria, Virginia
Team Captain Ricky White is no stranger to Walk Your AS Off. He serves as Walk AS One’s Vice Chairman, and he works tirelessly to raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis through his website Endlesstrax.com. This is Ricky’s 5th year participating in WYASO, and 3rd as a team captain.
The Blue Apples – Ohio and Maine
Facebook: The Blue Apples
The Blue Apples were the very first team to start walking for AS. The team was founded in 2012 for Walk Your A.S. Off by WYASO site founder and Chairwoman of Walk AS One, Jennifer Visscher.
Track your steps from May 1st until May 31st to raise awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis.
The Maine-iAcS – Maine
Comment From Susan Dye, Team Captain: This will be my fourth year walking for raising awareness of AS through Walk Your A.S. Off.
Since my daughter, Jennifer Dye Visscher, has AS and founded the Walk, it is very important to me and to our family that we continue to promote awareness and health through the Walk. I’m getting ready to go! I hope you all are, too.
Stepping with SpondyMom – Oregon
Facebook: Spondy Mom
Spondy Mom’s Team Captain Amber Panagos has a very supportive and extremely active Facebook page. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join our team! AS Warriors, supports, family and friends! Lets raise some much-needed AS Awareness, one step at a time!
Kick AS Striders – Florida
Team Captain Diane Cappelli says that Kick AS Striders are walking to raise awareness. “We believe every step we take helps bring awareness about Spondylitis to people we meet along the way. We are home based in Florida but have members up and down the east coast. We take one day at a time and one step at a time. I have walked for Team Maia’s Warriors in the past.
I have AS and I’m one of those who are HLA-B27 negative. I have bi-lateral SI Joint fusion, cervical spine is fused from C2-C7. I do not let AS slow me down – well, ok I try to not let it. I work full time and on May 7th I will receive my Associates of Arts Degree at the ripe old age of 54. I will then go on to work on my BS in Health Administration.”
Eurofins Kick AS
Team Captain Ramya Keerthi Pasupuleti’s team Eurofins Kick AS is joining WYASO for the first time this year.
Coach Matt’s AS Kickers – Garland, Texas
I’m Jennifer, Captain of Coach Matt’s AS kickers. “I live in Garland, Texas. This is my first year doing the walk and I’m sooooo excited to be a part of it and raise awareness for AS. I am walking for my husband, Matt, who was diagnosed with AS in 2005.
He has been a pee wee football coach for 5 years, suffering every minute while doing it, without the parents even knowing his situation. He does so much for others; I wanted to show him that people would do this for him. I will be raising money for the Arthritis National Research Foundation. I’m grateful I found this organization and to have “met” such wonderful, caring people. I love how everyone is like family here, even though we’ve never met.”
Perseverance Warriors Against AS – Oregon
Team Captain Bree Trejo here: “I live in Oregon. I was diagnosed with AS in Nov. 2014. This is Our Teams First Annual Walk for Walk You AS Off. We Believe that with each step we bring awareness about Ankylosing Spondylitis to more and more people.
We have a team of 10 currently with our youngest walker bring 9 years old. We feel it’s never to early or late to spread the word. Currently I am the only person on the team with AS but I am blessed with what I call my AS Angels who are so understanding and supportive. Of your interested in joining but don’t have a pedometer please don’t let that stop you. I have found them for cheap and stocking up.”
Walk Your ILLinois AS Off – Buffalo Grove, Illinois
ASsie Walkers – Gold Coast Qld
Comment from Team Captain Gilly: Hey all, I’m Gilly and started the Assie Walkers (We’re down under in Australia.)
We would love all ASers in Australia to join our team and help raise awareness around the world.
GREAT BRITAIN TEAMS
AS Buzzers – Surrey, England
Captains Kathy Miller and Gerry Dance lead a massive team of walkers from Great Britain.
Comment from Team Captain Kathy Miller: Hi, I’m Kathy Milller, Team Captain of AS Buzzers lives in Surrey, England. After being symptomatic since my mid teens, I was finally diagnosed with AS aged 42. Fortunately I’ve always been able to stay really active as I found it helped with the pain (at least until I stop!).
In my 20’s, I changed active sport for distance walking (although I still skied every year if I could) and it really helped me to cope. 15 years on I’ve started anti-TNF treatment and the effect has been truly amazing and I’m even starting to run a little again. Four years ago, my team co-captain, Gerry Dance, encouraged me to join the online fitness forum Realbuzz.com where I met a truly inspirational and incredibly supportive group of people.
Many are marathon runners or Ultra-marathon runners, swimmers, cyclists, triathletes and many also face huge daily challenges of their own with troublesome joints. Gerry also has AS and is an Ultra runner and has been an absolutely huge inspiration and hero to me personally, often running events in his famous orange morph suit to raise awareness of AS and funds for NASS.
With their help and support, I’ve far exceeded my own expectations, conquering Ultra walking challenges and raising funds for NASS. I’m also the Chair of my local Branch of NASS, providing weekly physio and monthly Hydro sessions and support for local patients and almost all of the local group and our physios are team members too. Likewise, they’re an incredibly supportive and positive group and together, our members from all over the UK and Europe want to raise awareness though activity.
Orange Apples – Home Team for the National Association of Ankylosing Spondylitis (NASS)
Facebook: Orange Apples
- Fundraising for NASS – National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society
- Please visit Gillian’s Fundraising Just Giving Page for how to contribute.
Team Captains Gillian Eames and Jean Morton lead a MASSIVE group of walkers in Great Britain. Follow Gillian Eames on Twitter @GillianEames
Comment from Gillian: “We have about 90 people on our team, mainly from the UK. We have two Members of Parliament along with two consultants, research nurses and physiotherapists.
I was originally on Jennifer’s Blue Apples Team, but last year l decided to start the Orange Apples Team. I had no idea how large we would grow. Raising awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis(AS) is very important to me.
In the UK, we need to educate so many people within our national health system as to what AS is. l did the drug trials in the UK for the use of Enbrel for AS patients for 5 years from 2002.
Team Co-Captain Budd: I am Co-Captain of Ria’s Kick A.S. Walkers” I live in Largo, Florida (in the Tampa Bay Area on the Beach). I am an AS Warrior and have suffered with AS for 36 years now.
I used to be an Insurance Company Executive, prior to becoming unable to work and eventually disabled. I’m an avid fan of Cruises, and I’m an Activist in my spare time for Humanitarian Issues, Animal Rights Advocate, Women’s Rights Advocate, Equal Rights Proponent, and an Environmental & Political Activist from my iPad in bed.
I have been married to my angel of a wife, Mary for 27 years on 08/06 of this year, and I’m the proud Father of two adult men, Joshua and Tad.
A.S. Busters is the home team of the Canadian Spondylitis Association!
The Walking Spondies – International Team: Taiwan – Canada, South Africa, the UK and the US
Facebook: The Walking Spondies
The Walking Spondies is an international team of walkers led by Carrie Kellenberger in Taiwan. Team members hail from Taiwan, Canada, the US, the UK and South Africa.
Comment from Team Captain Carrie: Hi everyone. I was diagnosed with AS in Taiwan in early 2009. The Walking Spondies have been participating in Walk Your AS Off since 2014. Each year, our team gets bigger and better, and we are the ONLY team walking in Taiwan. We’re also the only team in Asia.
We have walkers and runners and fitness instructors participating from all over the world, so our team is very international and we are happy to have new members. Please join our Facebook page and ping me there if you have questions on how to join us. You can convert any type of exercise to steps, so if you’re into swimming, weight-lifting or any other kind of sport, your activity can be converted to steps. We can even convert household chores into a step count for you. We hope you’ll join us!
Walk For AS – Ireland – Dublin, Ireland
Twitter Handle: @WalkForAS
SOUTH AFRICAN TEAMS
AISpA was born in Bologna (Italy) in 1987 at the behest of a group of patients suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis admitted to the Department of Fisiatria of the Policlinico S. Orsola Malpighi of Bologna (Prof. C. Menarini) who solidarized with some doctors, united by socio-medical interests and scientific research. Following the significant increase in the number of members, AISpA’s voluntary activity has spread to the whole Italian territory and has also obtained international recognition with the entry into the ASIF federation (Ankilosing Spondylitis International Federation) and with the accession to “Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010” (decade for diseases of the skeleton and joints, sponsored by OMS, ONU and Vatican, inaugurated in January 2000 by a network of associations of doctors, patient groups and governments, united by common goal of increasing knowledge in the field of musculoskeletal disorders).
Team PAWS for our Cause – Worldwide
In 2014, after much debate and a few amazing stories, we decided to include our furry friends in our campaigns.
We count their steps but they are shown separately and if the amount of steps from our pups ever became significant to make (others) feel we didn’t reach Mars without them – well then, we’d go those number of steps past the Red Planet and squash those nay sayers’ in extra steps for heaven’s sake!
A.S. knows no borders, so let’s move those bones together!
Hope in Motion Life is an international team who welcomes everyone from around the world to join! Across different cultures, different languages, we have big Hopes. We are gathering energies from all corners of the globe, sharing our stories, raising awareness, and supporting one another. Be part of a positive change! Become an advocate! Let’s Walk AS One!
Team captain: Laetitia loves the outdoors and became a long distance bicycle traveler in 2009. She was facing chronic pain for several years and she had no clue that it could have been an illness until she was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2016. She then decided to create the Hope in Motion project to bring people together and make the invisible visible to all kinds of people. And of course, as movement is essential to prevent bone fusion, through the project she also promotes staying active and fighting for what one loves.