Purple Bagels and a 5-Mile Run Bring Community Awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease

FOR OFFICIAL RELEASE | MAR 15, 2017

Purple Bagels and a 5-Mile Run Bring Community Awareness to Alzheimers Disease

Family and community came together at a recent kick-off event for one man's campaign for Alzheimer's awareness. On a clear, but very chilly day, Jay Asparro, of Plainview, took to the streets to run a little over five miles to highlight a mission spurred on by several passions: love for his grandmother, Ann Asparro, who is living with Alzheimer's, his concern for other families struggling with the disease and his dedication to supporting the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

Jay began his run at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's new facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury and finished up at Family Bagels in Plainview. There, surrounded by several family members and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center staff, he announced "The 2017 Ann Asparro Run" and handed Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center nearly $38,000 raised from his inaugural run last year. "Last year I focused on raising awareness about Alzheimer's effect on my own family, about Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center and the great stuff they do. I saw the positive effect of my run on other families. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center is here on Long Island to help these families," he says.

While David Rokofsky of Acoustic Angry Alice strummed a guitar, taking requests from the patrons gathered at Family Bagels, Neal Schatt spoke of Jay's quest and "giving back." Owner of the establishment for the past 11 years, Neal says, "I met Jay a few years ago, when he was a customer. We got to talking about his plans for a 90-mile run fundraiser (which became the 2016 Ann Asparro Run) for Alzheimer's and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center and I wanted to help him achieve his goal. I got banners made and I decided to make a purple bagel for awareness of Alzheimer's disease. " The bagels have been available since then, with a part of the sales being donated to Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. Along with his support of several charities, Neal is proud to call his customers, "family," something that factored into the chosen name for his business. "I want to know my customers by name, have them greeted with a warm welcome every time they come in. To have a friendly atmosphere where my customers feel like family."

As always, the team at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center is grateful for Jay's continued support. Tori Cohen, Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's Executive Director, says, "We are so grateful to Jay and Family Bagels for supporting our mission. We're so excited to be more centrally located now and have a bigger space to be able to help more people at our state-of-the-art facility. And every dollar raised goes toward the programs."

Jay and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center will host another event, "Let's Roll for the Run," on March 26 at Plainview Lanes, located at 500 Old Bethpage Road in Plainview. This family-friendly afternoon of bowling takes place from 1 – 3:30 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's programs and services. For more information/registration, visit liaf.org or contact Christine Rice at 516-767-6856.  

Later this year, Jay will host a 5K run in Plainview on September 30, followed by his 75-mile run for 2017 which will take place on November 4 from Jones Beach to Oyster Bay and then at the New York City Marathon on November 5.

While Jay stresses the need to raise funding, he adds, "One of my main goals is to be a bridge between families and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's amazing programs. I want to get more families connected with the programs."

This community effort, driven by one man's passion for his family and other families struggling with Alzheimer's, to a local business that believes in supporting a worthy cause, has become part of the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's goal of making a difference in the lives of those living with Alzheimer's, and their families.

To learn more about Jay's run and to follow his journey this year, visit theannasparrorun.com Any support is greatly appreciated!

Caption: Jay Asparro presents a check with the proceeds of his 2016 run to Tori Cohen, Executive Director of the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

For more information about the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, please contact Jenna Caroccia, Director of External Affairs at jcaroccia@liaf.org or (516) 767-6856 ext. 28. To schedule an intake, please contact Melissa Katz, Director of Early Stage/In-Home Respite at mkatz@liaf.org or call (516) 767-6856 ext. 14.


For 29 years, Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.lidementia.org

Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center Presents to Hofstra Medical Students

FOR OFFICIAL RELEASE | MAR 9, 2017

Long Island Alzheimers Foundation Presents to Hofstra Medical Students

The Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center was recently invited to participate in a session for second-year medical students at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine at Hofstra University. The session, part of a weekly series in the students' current neurology/psychiatry rotation, presented information related to Alzheimer's disease, from a family member's perspective and from a Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center staff member. Dr. Allan Vann, who cared for his wife, Clare, after her diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease 10 years ago, offered a personal look at the toll the disease has on families and the importance of support groups. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center Social Worker Melissa Katz spoke of Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's mission to improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer's disease, and related forms of dementia, and their families. She outlined the programs and services Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center has available at each stage of the disease.

Second-year medical student Brian Emmert, whose father, Brian Emmert, Sr., serves on Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's Board of Trustees, initially discussed the possibility of a presentation by Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center with Lauren Block, MD, Liaison, MD MPH Program for Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. Brian has first-hand knowledge of the effect an Alzheimer's diagnosis has on families, from volunteering at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center over several summers and from his grandfather, who had Alzheimer's disease. He believes future doctors gain valuable insight by learning about a disease from a personal perspective; by becoming more aware that a physician does not just treat the patient, but the entire family. "They (the students) got ideas of what works and what doesn't. How to talk with families. It's so important to learn about the experiences of the caregivers, to treat the family and the patient. It's just as important as learning about the clinical side. Allan Vann was an amazing speaker. He gave us a view into the caregiver's life, as well as the patient's."

Dr. Block praised the information, as well, saying, "It was a good introduction to the students on the different stages of Alzheimer's and the effects on the patients and their caregivers. It offered a unique perspective. The feedback from the students was great."

Dr. Vann's wife passed away last April. He and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center were connected through much of his and his wife's journey with Alzheimer's. A staunch advocate for caregivers, Dr. Vann participated on a caregivers' panel with Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center about five years ago. His presentation at Hofstra was his first time speaking before medical students, and, as he had on the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center panel, spoke about his caregiver role and the importance of being in a support group. Dr. Vann emphasized the need for future doctors to advocate for change in this respect.

Melissa Katz, who is the Director of Early Stage Programs/In-Home Respite at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, spoke about the various stages of the disease's progression and gave the medical students an overview of Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. "I talked about all of our different programs that we have available throughout each stage, the caregiver support groups we have for the spouses and adult children of individuals with Alzheimer's, the Brain Fitness sessions we have and about our in-home respite." She also stressed that Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's social workers provide continuous support and are always available by phone. "One thing I focused on was, that even though there are over 50,000 people in Nassau and Suffolk counties living with Alzheimer's, naturally many families feel like they're the only ones going through it, or still experience the stigma attached to the disease. At Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, we work to relieve this feeling."

Ms. Katz thanked Dr. Vann for sharing tips on how to approach individuals with Alzheimer's and his emphasis on the need for care for the caregivers. She says, "He told the students how important it is for caregivers to have a safe place to discuss their feelings on how difficult the journey is. He told them it helps to realize that everyone in the support group is walking in the same shoes and can share advice with each other confidentially."

Caption: Dr. Allan Vann and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center Social Worker Melissa Katz (3rd and 4th from left) presented information on Alzheimer's disease at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine to second-year medical students, including Brian Emmert, 2nd from left. They were welcomed by Hofstra Professor Maya Frankfurt, PhD, Human Condition course director, (far left) and Northwell's Dr. Lauren Block, Humanities in Medical Ethics program coordinator.

For more information about the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, please contact Jenna Caroccia, Director of External Affairs at jcaroccia@liaf.org or (516) 767-6856 ext. 28. To schedule an intake, please contact Melissa Katz, Director of Early Stage/In-Home Respite at mkatz@liaf.org or call (516) 767-6856 ext. 14.


For 29 years, Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.lidementia.org