Hardest working woman in bingo

| Steve Bieler

Back in 2014, Sue Jaqua decided there had to be a better way to recruit people for the fight against psoriatic disease. “I had participated in walks way before Team NPF, but people were getting tired of it,” Jaqua, a lifelong Oregonian, recalls. “It was getting tougher to get them up early on a rainy Sunday morning in Portland. Even my husband, Evan, and I had a problem with that sometimes.”

Jaqua was diagnosed with psoriasis while she was in her 30s. She got involved with NPF 15 years ago because she wanted to learn more about treatments other than topicals. “NPF was great,” she says. “They helped me get a light box, and I had it for years in my house. I’m currently taking a biologic.”

Her sister, now deceased, had had psoriasis since she was 5. “It had a huge impact on her,” Jaqua said. “Now I want to help find a cure before one of my grandchildren gets it.”

But what kind of fun activity could she organize that would attract people and keep them coming back? “You can’t make it seem like work,” she says. “It has to be fun.”

The answer was right in front of her

Evan Jaqua’s employer, Reser’s Fine Foods, holds an annual summer picnic that features a bingo tournament. Jaqua decided to take the bingo idea and run with it. The result was the DIY extravaganza she dubbed “BingoFest,” the forerunner of Team NPF Bingo, in February 2015.

That first bingo was “crazy,” Jaqua says. “The room was small and we were packed in there like sardines. We had about 80 people. We never expected that kind of turnout. It was like a party where you send the invitations and hope somebody shows up and then they all do.”

Jaqua was the event committee chairwoman – a post she still holds. She downplays the burden, which includes running teleconference training for organizers all over the country. “We’re lucky here in Portland,” she says. “We have the NPF staff and eight dedicated volunteers.” Plus, she says, “my husband is my best supporter and assistant. And he became one of the bingo callers.”

The fourth annual Team NPF Bingo in Portland is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2018. Attendance has grown every year. This year we’re hoping for 200-plus happy bingonauts. We have national and local sponsors (including Reser’s). We’ve started a bingo renaissance, and we hope you can join us on one of these dates:

Portland, Oregon, Saturday, Feb. 24

New York, New York, Wednesday, April 18

Boston, Massachusetts, Thursday, April 26

Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday, April 26

Washington, D.C., Saturday, May 12

San Jose, California, Saturday, May 12

Los Angeles, California, Saturday, May 19

San Gabriel Valley, California, Sunday, June 10

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Thursday, June 14

San Diego, California, Saturday, June 22

Sue Jaqua’s ultimate bingo tip

Though she claims she’s not a serious player (“I don’t even have my own dauber”), Jaqua has seen enough of the game to say this: “Play two or three cards, and remember that bingo is a game of chance. There is no skill at all. So have fun!”

Photo: Evan and Sue Jaqua

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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