In Honor of My Grandmother, Ann
Jay has transformed his love for his grandmother, Ann Asparro, and passion for running into his blueprint for making a difference - one mile, one person, one family at a time. Watching his grandmother slowly slip away while living with Alzheimer’s was devastating. In addition to that, seeing his family members physically and emotionally give of themselves to care for her on a daily basis created feelings of frustration and helplessness.
Today, Jay is committed to making a difference by raising awareness and helping other impacted families navigate their way through the disease. Through hard work and perseverance, over the last six years, Jay has raised over $100,000 for the Long Island Alzheimer's & Dementia Center (formerly LIAF). He is committed to helping others and "doing good" because Ann was just "good" - Jay is UNSTOPPABLE in his efforts to increase awareness about the hands-on services and programs available for diagnosed individuals and caregivers at the LIAD Center!
2016 - Jay successfully completed a three-day, 90-mile Multi-Marathon Inaugural "Ann Asparro Run.” His hard work and efforts raised over $35,000. Asparro was cheered on by dozens of his friends and family along with staff and board members of the Long Island Alzheimer's & Dementia (LIAD) Center as he crossed the finish line in front of family parish, St. Pius X R.C. Church in Plainview, marking the end of his consecutive three-day 90-mile run, which kicked off in Montauk. Asparro's love and gratitude for his grandmother, Ann Asparro, who at the time was 90-years-old and living with Alzheimer's, was the driving force behind his decision to take on this special three-day challenge.
"The finish at St. Pius was more than I could have imagined. I fell to my knees. The importance is the lives of the families that I've been able to touch and help…Going forward, I will continue to raise awareness and funds for LIAF's programs for the families who are suffering from Alzheimer's and the community. I have plans for what we want to do next year."
2017 - In honor of what would have been his grandparent's 75 wedding anniversary, Jay ran a total of 75 miles in two days to once again raise money for the LIAD Center. On Saturday, November 4th, Jay ran 48.8 miles from the north shore of Long Island to the south shore. Then, on Sunday, November 5th, Jay persevered through the NYC Marathon, completing 26.2 miles. Not only did Jay reach his goal of 75 miles in two days, but also raised an impressive $18,000 for the Center's day programs and services.
"My family was with me every mile of those 90 miles and that was the most important, getting my family together and then I realized the impact the run had on other families, for every mile of the 90 miles I ran last year, I ran for a family who has been touched by Alzheimer's and after that I felt like it couldn't be over."
2018 - Jay challenged himself to complete the Lake Placid Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run). Unfortunately, during the swim, he was injured by a competitor and had to be taken out of the water. Though disappointed, Jay refused to rest and instead accepted a new challenge - on his own, away from the IronMan race, Jay ran 26.2 miles and completed a marathon in dedication of the 'iron men and women caregivers that cannot give up their fight in times of difficulty and disappointment.' His perseverance raised over $10,000 for the LIAD Center!
"Most families have a goal of a long happy life celebrating memories, but Alzheimer's gets in the way of this goal. These strong and resilient families and their caregivers continue moving forward, they continue to navigate through Alzheimer's together. I had to navigate a way to continue after not completing IronMan...I proudly wear my grandmother's name and LIAF on my chest every year... This year has been dedicated to my parents, my aunt and uncle and all caregivers."
2019 - On November 2nd - 3rd 2019, Jay ran again with a goal to complete 100 miles. In just 29 hours, Jay accomplished his mileage goal and caught the attention of News12, Newsday and other medias. Friends, family and the community gathered at Kellenberg Memorial High School, cheering and joining Jay on the track to help achieve his goal. All proceeds raised were directly donated to the LIAD Center, helping caregivers take a step forward.
2020 - Last year, after completing the 100 Mile Run and with the passing of his grandmother, Ann, Jay felt it was time to hang up his running shoes and discontinue The Ann Asparro Run. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought on challenges no person, especially no caregiver, had prepared for. In honor of those without support or relief caring for a diagnosed loved one, Jay ran 50 miles on Sunday November 8th from Jones Beach to Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay in less than 12 hours.
"I’m so glad I put my running shoes back on and I’m ecstatic I still get to honor my grandmother’s life and spirit, as well as, supporting the LIAD Center and the community."
2021 - This year’s Ann Asparro Run brings Jay back to Montauk, where it all began in 2016. The 2021 Ann Asparro Run-100 Miles of Hope will start at the Montauk Lighthouse on Sat. Oct. 2nd and will end at the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center in Westbury on Sun. Oct. 3rd. Jay will be running 50 miles on both days to complete this 100 mile run. "I’m not going to lie, I’m tired and exhausted from the past Ann Asparro Runs. These are the same feelings I believe caregivers have every day as they take care of their loved ones. This run represents my love for my grandmother, my family, the community, the LIAD Center and all families that have lived through and currently living through Alzheimer's disease and dementia."