Athletes Joined Against Spondylitis

aka AJAS   |   Cincinnati, OH   |  www.joinedagainst.org

Mission

Brian Warner, the founder of Athletes Joined Against Spondylitis (AJAS), is a nationally ranked paintball player and someone who has Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). AS is a systemic autoimmune disease and a type of arthritis that affects the joints between the vertebrae of the spine, especially those found in the lower back. AS causes inflammation in the areas where tendons or ligaments attach to bone, which then makes the vertebrae merge ? or fuse ? together. Gradually, the disease moves up, affecting joints higher and higher on the spine. Besides the joints, the lungs, heart and eyes can also be affected.

It is not well known in the medical community and is often misdiagnosed. In Brian's case, it took 10 years of fruitless tests, before he was finally diagnosed with an advanced case of AS. There is no cure, only treatment for the symptoms, and many insurance companies do not cover the medications. Brian has recently started taking Humira, which has significantly reduced his pain and dramatically increased his mobility. But while Humira helps, it is not a cure. It is also a drug treatment that is not covered by all insurance policies. He is lucky in that his insurance picks up the tab. Brian's treatment costs more than $30,000 a year. Many people are not so fortunate; some insurance policies don't cover Humira -- if the patient has insurance at all.

More than one million people have AS. Two-thirds of all patients, such as the entertainer Ed Sullivan, end up with a curved, forward-stooping posture. Most end up unable to work, to drive or to enjoy a full life with their families. AS most commonly strikes males in their 20s and about 5% of all cases diagnosed are in children.

AS patients are predominantly young men; extreme athletes are predominantly young men. Paintball is the third largest extreme sport in terms of revenue, behind only skateboarding and in-line skating, and is the only sport of its kind that promotes a teamwork environment, which is why it is appealing as the launch point for AJAS.

Ruling year info

2008

Principal Officer

Brian A Warner

Co Principal Officer

Wendy Hart Beckman

Main address

2836 Westbrook Dr.

Cincinnati, OH 45211 USA

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EIN

26-1179028

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (G01)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (N12)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Awareness

Athletes Joined Against Spondylitis will work to increase the awareness of ankylosing spondylitis by promoting AS awareness through banners, uniforms, appearances and pamphlets in a new, quickly growing market that is covered by Four prime-time cable television stations (Spike TV, Fox Sports, ESPN 2, and Versus (formerly known as the Outdoor Life Network) National trade publications Over 2,000 commercial, team and independent Web sites Live National Professional Paintball League sporting events attended by audiences of more than 100,000 people; Becoming a model for athletes with a disability by competing in five NPPL national events each year; Chronicling the team's quest for the national title on paintball Web sites; Raising awareness, support and contributions for AS research and treatment through extreme sports, including paintball through multiple channels of information: Web, print, television, radio; Giving the disabled and underprivileged a role in our sport and creating opportunities for them to enjoy the game at whatever levels their abilities will allow. Holding "FUSE Days" where area youth are invited to come meet professional paintballers, learn about paintball, hear about motivating oneself to achieve goals beyond a disability. Host online and in-person support group activities to unite people with AS to share experiences. Online has begun through the Web site (www.joinedagainst.org).

Population(s) Served

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Financials

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Operations

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Athletes Joined Against Spondylitis

Board of directors
as of 06/07/2016
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Brian Warner

No affiliation

Term: 2007 -

Brian Warner

No affiliation

Wendy Beckman

No affiliation

David Wohlfeil

No affiliation

Christopher Beckman

No affiliation

Christa Tutwiler

No affiliation