Who am I?
Hi, my name is Jason F. Boschan and I’m a marketer by day, runner and dementia fundraiser by night. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, I currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina; a place I have called home for the past decade. I am extremely ambitious and passionate about raising awareness and funds for dementia research. Since I’ll sleep plenty when I am dead, I figured why not do anything and everything possible to find a cure for this vicious disease.
10 years ago, my “papa,” a pediatrician of 50+ years was diagnosed with a debilitating brain syndrome known as Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA); a form of dementia that makes a person progressively lose the ability to communicate and comprehend language over time. At present, there is no effective drug or treatment to cure or even treat PPA. No one in my family ever heard of this disease; in fact, most people have never heard of PPA inside and outside of the medical community. My “papa” always selflessly and willingly offered his time to care for those that needed him most. His passion in life was to help children and families 24/7. My “papa” went from being a fully functional doctor to being sidelined in an assisted living home within several years. This was a painful and heartbreaking deterioration to watch. I refused to continue wishing things would get better. I decided start doingsomething about it…
Back in 2000, I was studying abroad in London, England. Of course, like all students, I was excited to be living in a foreign country. What I never expected to do in my lifetime was run a marathon, let alone run one without ever training. Yes, you read that correctly. I did not train. While I have played sports all my life, I have never gone out for a run, well, just to run. However, the challenge of running 26.2 miles with 40,000 runners and 500,000 supporters greatly peaked my interest. There was only one problem: a 3-year waiting list.
Determined to find a way, I partnered with the Notting Hill Foundation, a non-profit company offering spaces in the London Marathon to anyone who could raise $1,250 for children battling disabilities. I didn’t have time to train. Instead, I ran from dorm to dorm, class to class and pub to pub doing my best to fundraise and reach my target goal. I even got kicked out of Covent Garden for attempting to street perform (tap dancing) as way to raise money. Never hurts to try in life. Eventually, I reached my goal with the support of hundreds of strangers and friends abroad as well as family back home. Now all I had to do was show up and run.
Mind over matter, right? YES! On April 16, 2000 I took the Tube to the Greenwich, stretched and never stopped putting my feet one in front of the other until I crossed the finish line at 4:57:57. This immense feeling of euphoria and personal accomplishment was indescribable. I was no longer a runner. I was a marathoner! It was hard to fathom afterward, but I vowed never to run another marathon again. That is, until my phone rang 10 years later.
I received a call from my friend Michelle asking if I wanted to take her place in the NYC marathon due to an injury she suffered. I knew runners often waited 4-5 years in a lottery for the chance to run this historic race. I have to admit; my curiosity and adrenaline antennas peaked. "How many months do I have to I prepare" I asked. Her response, "72 hours." And like 10 years before, I wrapped my brain around the idea that this was possible. Despite some initial doubts from family and friends, I completed my second marathon in a decade followed by an extremely long ice bath! As I walked with my brother out of central park, he said, "There is something I want to tell you but I am afraid you are going to want to do it." "What the hell are you talking about?" I asked. "There is a marathon on the Great Wall of China."
And so it began...
After completing the 2010 NYC marathon, I realized the power of athletic performance to benefit critical medical causes. Immediately afterward, I had a vision and started a journey that has completely shifted my life toward something far more important than running. I recognized I could accomplish far more by bringing the fundraising, medical, and running communities together. Immediately, I thought about my "Papa," a pediatrician of 50+ years who was battling his own dementia illness. During my extensive research, it became clear I needed to partner with the premiere dementia research clinic in the world to establish credibility when asking others for donations. For this reason, I decided to be proactive and do something extraordinary to help all people and families battling this degenerative disease. I would run the Great Wall of China marathon to raise global awareness and funds for dementia research.
I initially thought this idea would be a 1-year campaign. Boy, was I proudly mistaken!
During the first year, I had the privilege of traveling across the United States, running every type of race imaginable, but also meeting people and families who had a connection to dementia. They would speak in great detail about their beloved family member battling against dementia or about their loved one whom recently lost their fight against this vicious disease. I couldn't help but feel inspired and motivated to continue developing and growing this cause on a global level.
Last year, I had one goal: fund the 1st National speech therapy trial in history. And we did just that!
Today, I'm the Founder and CEO for Run4Papa.com. I am partnered with the #1 PPA research facility in the world, Northwestern University's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC)! In 2012, I was honored and humbled to be the youngest person appointed to their Advisory Board. On top of that, I am endorsed by the world's most prolific American marathoner, Bill Rodgers, 4-time winner of the New York City and Boston Marathon for my efforts to raise awareness and funds for dementia research. To date, I have run 5 marathons: 2014 Boston Marathon, Big 5 in South Africa (on an open animal reserve), 2013 Boston (stopped at mile marker 25.8 due to the terrorist bombings at the finish line), 2012 Great Wall of China (training mainly in a pool, running 500 miles worth of races in 9 different states including hauling up 94 flights of stairs in the Hustle up the Hancock tower race), 2010 New York City, and 2000 London. And I assure you, I am nowhere near done! So, if you have a favorite race, there is a high probability I will come to your city/state/country to run and raise awareness for this cause with you. All you have to do is ask: [email protected]
My goal has now become two-fold. First, to raise money for and awareness of this devastating illness, and second, to challenge myself psychically in a venue that matches the fight my grandfather is facing. For the first time, we can deliver this gift to families battling dementia nationwide.
- Today is different from every other day.
- Make a choice. Choose to make a difference.
- Be part of the solution.
- Running Against Dementia.
For any and all questions, comments, suggestions, or interview requests please email: [email protected]
- Graduated from University of Michigan with a BA in Sport Management and Communications
- Youngest Advisory Board Member of Northwestern University's (CNADC)
- Director of Marketing and Communications at Moishe House
- Community Relations Coordinator at LPL Financial
- Marketing and Promotions Manager of the Charlotte Knights (AAA baseball affiliate of the Chicago White Sox)
- Director of Sales and Marketing for GreatGolfDeals.com
- Editor-in-chief of Debt U: How Higher Education Breeds a Lifestyle of Debt
Be a game changer, the world has enough followers.