Run4Papa Meets High Line

I am NOT Justin Verlander

Sitting in Row 15, Seat C flying toward La Guardia airport, I was contemplating which area of NYC to run through on this visit. My little brother Jared normally would’ve mapped out a plan of attack for the entire weekend of fun adventures; however, on this particular getaway, he was off to Israel making his own plan of attack: a wedding proposal!

Fortunately, my little sister Natalie (who interned in Manhattan last summer) had plenty of advice on places to run. One of her suggestions was High Line: a 1.45 mile section of the former elevated freight railroad running along the lower west side of Manhattan which has been redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway. The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods which lie along the line.

On my previous trip to Manhattan, I was told to visit the Chelsea Market (highly recommend by the way) but was not aware of this new development nearby. My sister mentioned that it was a touristy hot spot and wasn’t confident that I would be able to run this stretch due to the clutter of visitors. With that in mind, I woke up around 8AM, threw on some gear and walked to the subway.

As I emerged from the subway and headed toward High Line, I sensed this was going to be a different type of experience. Thankfully, there were only a handful of people at High Line when I started my run from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District through the neighborhood of Chelsea and finished near the Jarvits Convention Center.

Throughout my run, I saw people relaxing in rolling lounges positioned for river views and vendors underneath the windy overhangs selling works of art promoting city culture. I saw an area that had several clear blocks of glass where you could sit on benches that overlooked Manhattan’s west side skyline. Other features of this urban park’s attractions included naturalized plantings and unexpected views of the city and Hudson river.

After running one full length of High Line, I turned around and started heading back toward the other side. On my jog back, there were noticeably more people out and about taking in the sights and sounds of the city. As I was neared the end of my run, there was a lady who started following me snapping her camera pretty rapidly.  I thought I was in her way until she asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be in Texas?”

This caught me off-guard because I originally convinced my brother weeks back that I was going to be in Dallas celebrating my birthday over this weekend. The purpose: to distract him from thinking I would actually be in NYC so that I could surprise him and his fiancée upon their return from Israel.

“All I want is a picture and an autograph. I won’t create a scene but my husband will appreciate it!” I asked her who she thought I was and she replied, “Justin Verlander.” Being from Michigan, I was flattered by the comparison (even though I don’t see it), and took a picture with her and said again, “You’re husband is going to know that I am not Verlander.” She laughed and said, “Sign this and I will let him decide…”

I signed the piece of paper and handed her my Run 4 Papa business card.  Hopefully, when her husband sees the digital picture, he will affirm that I am not Justin Verlander, but rather a guy looking to promote PPA research instead. And if they are still not convinced, maybe they will choose to make a contribution and spread the word on behalf of Justin Verlander and his supporters at Run 4 Papa.

To watch video of the event, go to: Run4Papa Meets High Line

To see photos of the former elevated freight railroad transformed into an urban park, go to: High Line

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Run4Papa on High Line

 Not Your Average Park

There are a million different places to go for a run in NYC but when my sister suggested High Line, a former freight railroad transformed into an urban park, peaked my curiosity.

To read more about this run, go to: I am not Justin Verlander



The results are IN!

Goodbye $20,000, HELLO $50,000!

Thank you to everyone that reunited with my “Papa” and supported the climb of 5,164!  I could not have imagined the fundraiser being anymore successful: over 150 guests came to support the journey as well as hundreds whom mailed in contributions before & after the big day. We have tallied the totals:

  • Total raised for Support the Climb of 5,164 ($1/step) –  $19,427
  • Total overall raised to date – $24,915
  • NEW GOAL – $50,000

Due to the massive global support of this campaign, we reached our initial goal far quicker than we envisioned.  We are so thankful and appreciative for all the words of encouragement and realize this journey has so much more potential ahead.

As you may be aware by now, I originally set the goal of $20,000 as a barometer for the Run 4 Papa campaign to create awareness and raise funds for PPA research. When I was staring at a blank screen 94 short days ago with a thermometer that showed $0 at the bottom and a 20K at the top, I had no idea how short or long it would take to achieve this goal.

It takes a lot of people to make this happen, and believe me, I have had plenty of help from family, friends and complete strangers willing to offer their time and advice to move this campaign forward and create exposure for PPA and those battling this disease every day.

As a direct result of that effort and time, we are raising the new goal to $50,000.  We realize this is quite ambitious but I am confident that with the same work mentality, help, and support, this new goal can and WILL be reached over the remaining 210 days before the Great Wall of China Marathon.

I greatly appreciate the support and please continue to spread the good word about this cause.

A film dedicated for all people diagnosed with PPA that struggle to communicate but are fighting everyday – Run4Papa is behind you!

To watch video of the event, go to: Support the Climb of 5,164

To see photos from the fundraiser, go to: Reunite with Dr. Louis “Papa” Heyman

Thank you so much to all the Gold, Silver and In-Kind sponsors for your willingness to contribute to this special event by funding PPA research and providing food for our guests.

Gold Sponsors

Adams Development Corporation, Allegra Printing & Imaging, Breath of Spring Florist, OrthoCarolina 10K Classic, Sellers Orthdontics, Raymour & Flanigan Furniture

 Silver Sponsors

Bienenstock Nationwide Court Reporting & Video, Haddassah, Taubman, Nadis and Neuman (attorney&#39s-at-law), SAV-ON DRUGS

In-Kind Donations

Bake Station * Berci Letterpress Services * Brooklyn Bagel *Cherry Blossom Farms * CK Mediterranean Grille * Dakota Bread * Detroit Bagel * Diamond Bakery * Dunkin Donuts * Einstein Bros Bagel * Hiller&#39s Market * Jonny Pomodoro&#39s * Long Lake Market * Market Square * Mrs. Maddox Cake Shoppe * New York Bagel * Star Deli

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Happy to have this problem

Official total to be announced NEXT Friday

Contributions are still rolling in for this past weekend’s Support the Climb of 5,164 fundraiser from people who were unable to attend or heard about the cause online and decided to donate. We want to ensure that our count is as accurate as possible for all those who have generously taken the time to support this special event.  As a result,  we have postponed our announcement until NEXT Friday, October 21st, upon which we will provide you with an official total.

To watch video of the event:

Awaiting the Results

Support the Climb of 5,164 – Donation Totals to be Released Friday 

Thank you to everyone that reunited with my “Papa” and supported the climb of 5,164!  It was a fantastic atmosphere and a memorable experience.  We won’t know the official total of donations until the end of this week as more continue to pour in online and through the mail; however, it’s fair to that that we far exceeded $5,164.  I might have to run the steps 2 or 3 times over…

Support the Climb of 5,164

Reunite with Dr. Louis “Papa”Heyman –  Sunday, Oct 9th, 2011

Here is an opportunity to come together for a special reunion to honor and meet up with Dr. Louis “Papa” Heyman in the local Metro Detroit area.

Since there are 5,164 steps to climb and descend on the Great Wall of China Marathon, we thought it would be a creative way to organize a fundraiser where former patients, employees, colleagues, students, friends and family can help pledge $1 a step to reach the goal of 5,164.


To make a donation online, go to: (RUN4PAPA)

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Running Cliff-side

Teetering on the Edge

I had the great pleasure of running alongside the sunset cliffs located in San Diego, California.  The views Ever thought about running a sandbar from one end to the next? Me neither until recently.

View some footage before & after the sunset.



Read was it like to run 5 feet from some of the most beautiful cliffs ocean-side, go to: On the Edge of the Ocean


Run4Papa Surveys Sunset Cliffs

On the Edge of the Ocean

There is no shortage of beautiful panoramic views throughout the city of San Diego, California.  One could clearly run along Harbor Island with it’s scenic view of the downtown skyline, take a hike around the Historic Lighthouse at Pont Loma, or handpick anyone of the famous beaches along the coast from Ocean all the way up to La Jolla.  And while I was tempted to run in each of these locations, I was persuaded by my co-workers that Sunset Cliffs was the ideal locale to run ocean-side.

I arrived to work at 6AM and left at 2:30PM in order to take full advantage of each and every day since clear blue skies and 75 degree weather were a constant fixture in this city.  My co-workers apologized for the poor weather because “it was partly cloudy” (until 10AM) and then the sky cleared like clockwork everyday!  I would say San Diego-ans are spoiled rotten but they aren’t.  They just chose to live in a place where the weather is picture perfect 95% of the time!

My good friend Pat grabbed me from a beach social at Mission Bay (an after work get together of course) and drove toward sunset cliffs as we prepared for an hour long trek overlooking the sea…

When we arrived at the cliffs, we a saw signage posted every couple of hundred feet: Danger.  Sheer Unstable Cliffs. STAY BACK.

Ever so carefully, I walked near (just near mom) the edge of the cliffs and prepared a little commentary before our run.  The panoramic view was breathtaking.  To the left and right as far as the eyes could see were an endless amount of cliffs parallel to the sea. Below me – a solid couple hundred foot drop to the ocean floor. In front of me – a glowing sun symmetrically reflecting off the sky and calming body of water.

We zigzagged through the sandy path (about 5-10 feet from the cliffs) carefully avoiding bystanders sitting in chairs sipping on cold beer, couples comfortably nestled up together on towels and cars hugging the roads absorbing the ever-changing scenery. I wish I had a time lapse camera to capture the sunset throughout the duration of this run; however, I was able to secure a handful of images along the way.  I will have to put the other images in my mental vault and store them away for safe keeping.

As the sun continued to set, we headed back towards the car.  The sun was about to dip into the sea so we quietly filmed a wrap-up so as not to disturb the locals from enjoying that special moment of their day. As the sky turned into night, I found myself snapping one last shot.

I became lost in my own thoughts but I wasn’t lost at all…I was just in paradise.

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