ALBANY -- Among the holiday festivities celebrated each year by Albanians is one of the Children's Miracle Network's biggest local fundraisers.
Currently, officials are gearing up for the 24th annual Jingle Bell Jog set for Dec. 3 at Phoebe HealthWorks.
The event will begin at 8 a.m. and feature a 5K, 10K and one-mile fun walk. It is open to people ages 6 and older.
Registration fee is $20 prior to Nov. 24, and $25 afterward up until the day of the race. There will be health information stations, activities set up for children as well as appearances by "Mr. and Mrs. Claus" and the reindeer "Jingles."
Awards are also planned for each age group. There will be door prizes as well as long-sleeved red shirts given out on race day.
The 10K race begins at 8 a.m., the one-mile event begins at 9:15 a.m. and the 5K starts at 9:30 a.m.
On average, roughly 1,000 people participate in the event each year. As of Friday afternoon, 300 registrations had already come through.
"We have had a great response so far," said Amanda Williams, the local Children's Miracle Network coordinator. "Generally, registrations pour in the week of Thanksgiving.
"The response this year has been a little better."
All of the proceeds raised locally stay in the area to help provide care for children in the Southwest Georgia region.
Recently, Children's Miracle Network has bought Giraffe beds -- designed to simulate the conditions of the womb -- for the neonatal intensive care unit at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, as well as a NICU transporter.
Earlier this year, CMN purchased a $15,000 VeinViewer, which uses infrared light to reveal veins under the skin to allow for easier intravenous injections.
The fundraising goal for the Jingle Bell Jog is $50,000 this year, $15,000 more than the goal from recent years.
"It is a lofty goal, but this is a well-accepted event in the community," Williams said.
Currently, there are white, long-sleeved Jingle Bell Jog shirts on sale to raise funds for the cause. The shirt front displays a reindeer with Christmas tree lights and jogging shoes decorating its antlers.
These shirts are $15 for youth sizes from small to large, and adult sizes from small to 3XL. The price is $10 for infant and toddler sizes.
The shirts are being sold today outside the Phoebe cafeteria from 6 p.m.-8 p.m, and are also available by contacting Williams at (229) 312-1494 or by visiting the Phoebe Foundation at 410 Fifth Ave. Williams will also be selling the shirts at Sam's Club from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 26.
Phoebe HealthWorks is located at 311 W. Third Ave. For more information, or to register for the event, go to www.jinglebelljog.org or call (229) 312-2200.