“Dear Grandma, You probably don’t know this, but you have Alzheimer’s.
We all know how hard it is for you and we love you very much.”
Watching his grandmother slip sliding away was devastating for Jay Asparro and his family.
Jay ran to pray, to think, to clear his mind, and to find his own unique way of helping.
Then he made the commitment to help families who have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Ann Asparro Run
November 2016 Jay ran 30 miles a day for 3 days, totaling 90 miles to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s. To add his faith to the cause, Jay ran from the church in St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk where he used to spend his Summers, to his Parish St. Pius X in Plainview.
Every mile he contributed to another family and he raised over $37,000 for the Long Island Alzheimers Foundation.
It was just the beginning.
In November 2017 he ran 75 miles over 2 days to commemorate what would’ve been his grandparents’ 75th wedding anniversary.
Halfway 2018 Jay had already raised another $50,000 for the Long Island Alzheimers Foundation.
He took on the Ironman Triathlon Challenge this July! An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. It is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.
He joined Lake Placid IronMan 140.6 on July 22, 2018 for all those caregivers who can’t quit and keep pushing forward. He got sick halfway through the swim. But he didn’t give up. On September 9 he picked up where he had to stop 6 weeks before and that day he finished his own Lake Placid IronMan 70.3.
For 2019 Jay is planning to run across Italy for the Ann Asparro Run.
Jay is truly running the marathon of life for a better tomorrow. With each mile, Jay overcomes his own fears and preconceived limitations to push for more awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.
Running to Mt. Everest for Alzheimer’s
The Road of Many Smiles is Si Homfray’s idea to raise money for The Alzheimers Society.
An 8,000-mile unsupported journey on foot from the UK to the Mount Everest in Nepal.
After 25 years of an entrepreneurial career, Si Homfray decided to change his life and do something outdoor and physical, fulfilling his life’s ambition to climb Mt Everest.
Having been a trail runner all his life, a running expedition seemed like an ideal way to achieve this and to combine the adventure with his passion for photography, writing, design, and meeting new people.
For every single mile of the 8,000-mile route he aimed to raise £10 and everyone was welcome to join in and accompany him.
He was carrying all his own kit in a small, own designed 2 wheel trailer using a harness as a sledge across colder Polar regions. He changed Summer gear for Winter gear at certain points along the route.
Si left the UK on August 6, 2013 and returned October 17, 2014, having completed the first 3,000 miles of his journey across 20 countries to climb the Mount Everest.
He is still planning on completing his challenge but a date has not been set.
Alzheimer and dementia
Alzheimer is a progressive and irreversible neurological disease where proteins clump together and cause damage to the brain cells, called dementia.
Early symptoms of this brain disorder can be memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality.
There is currently no cure for dementia. Research involves understanding how protein build-up occurs, how it causes damage to cells in the brain and how it can be cured and prevented.
Running with dementia
Sue Strachan was diagnosed with vascular dementia in her late fifties.
Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain but exercise can help to slow it down.
Sue took up running and started training for a half marathon to have a future goal.
Four years later she registered for the London Marathon.
“I support research into dementia because it’s the only way that we can really change the outlook for people with dementia like me. I want to be part of giving hope that something positive can result, so that future generations won’t have to face what people like me and their families face now,” Sue says.
Sue hopes to inspire people to run and support dementia research.
People say she doesn’t look like she’s got dementia. “Well, what does someone with dementia look like?” Sue says.
There is little common knowledge and understanding of dementia. Reducing the stigma and improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers requires global action says Alzheimer’s Disease International.
September 2018: 7th World Alzheimer’s Month
Yearly international campaign to raise awareness and to deal with the stigma that surrounds dementia.
World Alzheimer’s Day marks the pinnacle of the World Alzheimer’s Month and was launched at the opening of ADI’s annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994.
Over 46 million people worldwide are diagnosed with dementia and the number is expected to rise to over 131 million by 2050. This cruel brain disorder hits us all in one way or another.
If dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy, according to the World Alzheimer Report. And if it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue, exceeding Apple (US $742 billion) and Google (US $368 billion).
The worldwide costs of dementia are estimated at US$818 billion.
Running can contribute considerably to reducing the emotional, social and financial costs.
A 2016 study by National Institute on Aging scientists showed how running can boost our memory to the same degree or more than brain training, emphasizing that to keep memory from fading, people should live a consistent active lifestyle.
How and Where You Can Run Against Alzheimer
The 10-day Rim2Rim challenge is held by the US Run2Revive for those that have had their mind or body taken from them. On September 22nd, 29th and 30th the runners will be crossing the Grand Canyon to reach their $30.000 goal to help end Alzheimer’s and ALS disease.
Researchers increasingly believe that neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s share important features. Furthering our understanding of one disease may help us to prevent, treat, and cure the other.
On September 30, 2018 you can join the Forum Purple Run in Koramangala, Bangalore in India.
20,000 people will be running across 7 malls in 6 cities at the same time, united in the same cause to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s.
The Dementia Revolution is a year-long campaign by Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society as Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of dementia, overthrow old attitudes and to power groundbreaking dementia research.
Walk to fight Alzheimer’s is an initiative of Alzheimer’s New Jersey in the US, providing care and support for New Jersey families today and helping to advance research for a cure tomorrow.
Walk to end Alzheimer’s is held annually by the US Alzheimer’s Association in more than 600 communities nationwide. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.
Walk4ALZ brings together local communities in Los Angeles in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias and supports local Alzheimer’s and dementia research.
The Loch Katrine Running Festival that takes place every year in March, is fundraising for Alzheimer Scotland.
Charitable giving has always been a big part of Race director Audrey McIntosh’ life because she believes strongly that “we should all recognize our personal ‘wealth’ and never take anything for granted.”
Audry took fundraising through running to a new level when she became the first Scot (and second British woman) in 2013 to complete the Antarctic Odyssey, the Antarctic Ice Marathon and Antarctic 100km double, within 3 days, then a marathon in the Atacama Desert in 2014 and a marathon in the North Pole in 2015.
Audrey’s fundraising helps to pay for the Alzheimer community activities across Glasgow in the UK, including Dementia Cafes, singing, football, film and bowling to help people living with dementia to live well with their diagnosis and remain a part of their community, and not apart from it.
SHARE YOUR RUN OR WALK AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S
Please share and add your own running initiative or event against Alzheimer’s below.
Together we can beat it.
Resources and further reading
I don’t love running but I love how it does make me feel
Jay Asparro: Alzheimer Awareness Ultra-Runner
An Overview of Alzheimer’s Disease
Runners are at a reduced risk of dying from Alzheimer’s
Vascular dementia: symptoms, causes, treatment
World Alzheimer’s Month
Also published on Medium.