Currently, there are more than 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease. It can strike at almost any age, and the progression of Alzheimer's disease can vary.
While Alzheimer's statistics are harrowing, it didn’t really hit home for Jay Asparro until a cold day in December of 2016 during a six mile run. Watching his grandmother Ann Asparro slowly slip away while living with Alzheimer’s was devastating. In addition to that, seeing his family members physically, psychologically and emotionally give of themselves to care for her on a daily basis, created feelings of frustration and helplessness. He knew he had to do something.
Jay decided to take a stand and make a difference. Three years later, he has demonstrated no signs of fatigue or slowing his inspirational run to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease. Continue reading to learn more about Jay’s heartwarming journey and how you can make a difference of your own.
The Race Worth Running
Although Jay knew he had to make a difference, his busy career and young family left him at odds with the type of impact he wanted to make. So, out of frustration, he ran. Without any finish line in sight, Jay ran to pray, to think, to clear his mind, and to find his own unique way of helping.
Jay understood he couldn’t find the cure for Alzheimer’s, but he could make a difference by raising awareness and helping other impacted families navigate their way through the disease.
Jay transformed his passion for helping his grandmother and running into his blueprint for making a difference - one mile, one person, one family at a time. While he initially considered a half marathon, it lacked the "wow factor" necessary to make the difference he desired. So Jay raised the stakes and decided to run an Ultra Marathon of 90 miles. As days passed, Jay's mission became more defined.
“I'm running for my grandmother, for my parents and aunt and uncle, and for all the other families who are suffering because of this terrible disease."
Each summer Jay and his family traditionally visited Montauk for Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux. He thought, perhaps, he could run from St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk to his parish of St. Pius X in Plainview. Unsure of the distance, Jay assumed it was shorter than 90 miles. And to his surprise, the distance between the two churches was exactly 89.7 miles.
Jay completed the first Ann Asparro Run in 2016 by running an astonishing 90 miles in three days. All the while he was fueled by the passion of raising money for Alzheimer’s awareness through the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.
“For one of the smallest ladies I know, your heart is the biggest I’ve ever known. The only way I will complete this run is through the love you have shown our family and me. The only way I will complete this run is through the LOVE I have for you!"
Running for a Better Tomorrow
What started out as a 90 mile marathon has grown into a national and international event. Let's take a look at how Jay's journey started, how it has grown, and where he sees it in the future:
- 2016: 90 miles across Long Island over 3 days
- 2017: 75 miles over 2 days to commemorate what would've been his grandparents' 75th wedding anniversary
- 2018: Upcoming run is the triathlon, the Iron Man in Lake Placid, New York in July. You can donate today to support Alzheimer's awareness and Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s programs.
- 2019: Jay is planning to take the Ann Asparro Run international and run across the country of Italy.
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 .
Jay understands he is running for his beloved grandmother as well as all of the other families impacted by Alzheimer's disease. And without your generous support, Jay and The Ann Asparro Run wouldn’t be able to reach the goal of $40,000.
Here’s How You Can Help
Although everyone may not be able to run 90 miles in 3 days or even run one mile in one day, you can still help. As a matter of fact, everyone can play a meaningful role in supporting Jay to create more awareness of Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s program and services - here’s how:
- Make tax-deductible charitable donation for a direct impact in raising awareness.
- Your time is valuable, but your presence and compassion can be invaluable by volunteering with Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.
- Show your appreciation for your loved one through In Honor and In Memoriam gifting.
- Encourage your organization to get involved with Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center for transformative events.
- Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets to show your support.
Thank you for your time and continued support for the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.