Largest 8K in the World

Shamrock Shuffle 8K: Running season opens in the Windy City

An estimated 40,000 runner’s helped kick-off Chicago’s traditional rite of spring for the 33rd Annual Shamrock Shuffle 8K providing a celebratory atmosphere of a summer festival. Today was a day of first’s:

1. First time running without a race bib – we won’t say exactly why this ended up happening, but should you have any questions, please direct them to one  Mr. Kevin Connolly

2. First time running with Opedix tights – generously donated from CEO Kim Gustafson. This product aligns the knee joint, distributing knee “load” by reducing knee pain as well as quadriceps fatigue.

3. First time running with a GoPro camera and CamelBak – you asked for footage during the race, and you will see it this weekend!

Unseasonably warm weather made for excellent running conditions. Running enthusiasts hit the start line at Grant Park as corral after corral were released into downtown Chicago. Passing by Trump Towers, Kevin and I made our way toward Mile 1 marker and stopped to give my parents a hug/photo op – no doubt immediately posted on Facebook by my father (post-race intel determined it was 3 mins afterward). Miles 2, 3 and 4 flew as we ran past the world-famous Chicago Theatre, over several Chicago river bridges and through Chicago’s “Loop,” staring down the Sears Tower with a mile-long stretch on famed State Street all while filming several minutes of footage at a time.

From the Chicago Sun-Times, “Finishing his first 8K run was downtown resident Donny Jekels, 46. He entered because ‘two years ago I couldn’t tie my shoelaces. I wasn’t fit and I thought that was a wakeup call.‘  He said he lost 30 pounds in 2 years, using exercise and watching his diet.  The father-son running tandem of Mike and Mario Woods had their own friendly competition, which the 65-year-old dad from South Holland won.”

43 mins later, slightly behind Abdelaaziz Atmani of Indianapolis with a winning time of 23 mins 18 secs, Kevin and I finished the 4.97 mile trek with the promise of a free beer at Grant Park and music being played from a stage near Buckingham Fountain.

And what about the 3 First’s? Well…we didn’t get pulled off the course because the race was relatively laid back making for a fun run: check. The Opedix running pants definitely worked! The material was comfortable, my legs felt great, and it was clear that some pressure was being distributed away from the tough wear and tear zone of my knees: check, check. The film footage?….I wish I had thought of this sooner: check, check, check.

As for the post-race festivities, I will just leave it at this: checkmate!

To watch exclusive footage during the race, go to: Running through downtown Chicago

To see more photos, go to: Shamrock Shuffle 8K

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2012 Northwestern CNADC PPA Conference

One Voice: Caring for EVERYONE with PPA

The 2012 CNADC PPA Caregiver Conference was an important day for those of us with loved one’s battling PPA. We had the sharpest minds in the field educating us on how to help those we love the most. As the morning kicked off, my vending booth was prominently located and positioned side-by-side CNADC’s to help promote the Run4Papa campaign. My booth had 3 main exhibits: 1. A personal letter of endorsement from Dr. Marsel Mesulam 2. A computer with pulled up for attendees to view and learn more about THE CAUSE 3. The newly launched Running Shirt – an opportunity for EVERYONE battling PPA to have their loved one’s name on the back of my shirt for the Great Wall of China Marathon – a BIG HIT!

The conference exposure was heart-warming because I had the pleasure of meeting caregivers whose loved one’s were diagnosed with PPA. While there were plenty of new names and faces, there were plenty of people attending that were following THE CAUSE online through social media like Facebook and Twitter. On top of all that, the most emotional conversations (if I am allowed to be biased) took place when speaking with patients battling PPA, all of whom were enthusiastically encouraging the efforts of the Run4Papa campaign.

With 324 attendees, the conference was tailored to family caregivers as well as health care professionals. Dr. Marsel Mesulam, Director of the CNADC and the man who first identified PPA, graciously welcomed everyone to the conference. Following his introduction, a lecture on the state of PPA research and treatment by Northwestern physician and assistant professor of geriatrics was delivered by Dr. Diana Kerwin. Our keynote address on “Behaviors, Language and Communication” was presented by Dr. Geri Hall (from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix), who has lectured and published widely on behavioral interventions and communication strategies in dementia, specifically PPA. The morning session ended with an interactive Q & A session from a panel of doctors and PPA caregivers. This opportunity provided audience members the ability to ask questions ranging from medical opinions, to family member reactions about PPA as well as expectations down the line for caregivers. When all the questions had been asked and answered, we broke for lunch and gave attendees more time to mingle amongst the vendors at the conference.

During the afternoon, the CNADC team organized 12 different breakout sessions for members to attend. Here were some of the choices:

a) Newly Diagnosed, Now What? b) Understanding Genetics in PPA c) Responding to Behavior and Personality Changes in PPA d) When is it Time? Identifying Options and Making Transitions for Care.

My parents split the meetings above while I attended the Support for Family Caregivers and Exploring Creative Art Therapies sessions. The caregiver session was unbelievably emotional because everyone shared their unique personal story. In the same respect, it was extremely helpful listening to everyone and learning how each person/family copes and adjusts to an ever-changing lifestyle of caregiving. Even though this was my first caregiver group experience, I could see the instant impact our dialogue was having on the faces around the table. One caregiver whose wife was diagnosed with PPA within the past couple years said, “I didn’t think I needed to come here before, because to be frank, I was in denial about my wife. This year, I realized that was a mistake. I will continue to come every year moving forward and attend the support groups for help and advice in the future.”

Similarly, the creative art therapy session was equally informative yet surprisingly entertaining. Through hands-on classroom activities, we learned how art, music and movement therapy help people diagnosed with PPA by maintaining their sensory and motor skills. The behaviors included expressing our inner thoughts by drawing pictures on paper, using hand gestures to communicate our emotions, and singing along to improvised songs instructing us to repeat specific lyrics.

As the breakout sessions finished, everyone headed back to the lecture hall for the conclusion of the conference. My What would you do for THE CAUSE? video was being shown and looped for roughly 15 mins on the big screen as everyone took their seats. Dr. Jennifer Medina concluded the day with her speech on “Stress and Caregiving: Mindfulness as a Coping Tool.”

I was so proud to share this day with my parents, family caregivers, patients, experts in the field-and of course-the CNADC team. The conference is an excellent resource for families and people fighting against PPA who want to be a part of a special team dedicated to finding treatment and a cure for this brutal disease.

If you couldn’t make it this year for whatever the reasons, please don’t miss it 364 days from now.

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National PPA Conference

 An Average Person Doing Extraordinary Things

 2012 Annual PPA Conference – Saturday, March 24th

Thorne Auditorium, Rubloff Building
375 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Come out this weekend and help Support the Journey to raise awareness for all those battling PPA everyday!

Click on Event Itinerary

Jason Boschan has partnered with the CNADC to raise funds in support of primary progressive aphasia (PPA) research. Jason’s grandfather, Dr. Louis “Papa” Heyman, a pediatrician for 50+ years, was diagnosed with PPA, a dementia that makes a person progressively lose the ability to communicate and comprehend language, in 2009.

Jason is running the Great Wall of China Marathon in May 2012 to honor his grandfather and EVERYONE battling PPA. The marathon is very exclusive and includes steep inclines that total over 5,000 steps. It is the equivalent of running up and down the Hancock Building & Willis Tower, and then taking a round trip between the Chicago and Evanston campuses of Northwestern University.

Jason has trained and run races in 9 states to prepare for the Great Wall of China Marathon. This campaign has helped bring awareness to PPA research and there have been over 360 individuals who have donated to the cause.

Dr. Marsel Mesulam endorsement

Dr. Marsel Mesulam who first identified PPA supports Run4Papa

Dr. Marsel Mesulam, Director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University proudly lends his support to the Run4Papa campaign.

My first Tower Race

Run4Papa v. Hancock Building

Today felt different.

Waking up Sunday morning February 26th, 2012, I was excited, motivated and refreshed for today’s race. Before getting out of bed, I rang Barcelona wishing my studying/traveling abroad sister a Happy 21st. Following the call, I hopped out of bed as my feet hit the hardwood floor with an overwhelming sense of positive energy and optimism.

I was ready to climb.

As is my superstition with all races, the running shirt (race bib attached), shorts, socks, and shoes were all meticulously laid out the night before. I showered (yup routine), grabbed a Gatorade and power bar and walked from Gold Coast toward the Hancock Building on a clear-skied, 40-dgree (no snow I might pleasantly add) with a typical Chicago-an wind hitting my face. Rounding the corner of N. State St and E. Delaware Place comfortably lay the 100-story Hancock Building with its elliptical-shaped plaza out front and the skyscraper’s distinctive X-bracing exterior boldly enticing all racers to enter.

After filming segments for the campaign, I went inside to prepare for the climb. I met two friends-Adam Silver and Kevin Connolly- who were also participating in their first Tower Race along with my parents whom drove from Michigan for moral support. Patiently waiting for our wave to begin, we inched our way near the opening stairwell. My adrenaline was flowing quicker than Wily Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.

Like a wild animal eager to be released from its cage, I saw the race official motion to climb and I was off! During the first 30-flights, I climbed every other step hoping to gain momentum by strategically cutting down the number of overall steps. While hustling up the Hancock, I was grabbing the railing with my left hand in order to take valuable pressure away from my calves. This approach initially felt good until I hit a mini-wall on Floor 30. I was using too much energy and my body was screaming “slow down or I’ll shut you down.”

I listened.

The stairwell started to heat my internal body temperature up and I proceeded to take it step-by-step moving forward. From flights 30 – 40, I kept looking at each floor number as I looped left again and again and again. I refrained from using the railing because I wanted to simulate the Great Wall of China Marathon race (no railings are available on those steps). Upon reaching the 40th floor, I made a conscious decision to keep my head down. Normally when running a half marathon or marathon, I intentionally refuse to watch the clock or view the mile-marker, preferring to feed off the crowd’s intensity and absorb the surrounding scenery along the route. This is a proven psychological tactic (for me) and I stay loyal to these routines. Since there was no clock, no crowd and only a handful of EMS and water stations during this climb, I kept my head down rising flight after flight.

Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor. Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor. Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor. Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor. Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor. Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step, floor.

It wasn’t until I heard someone yell “20 more left!” that my heart started pumping rapidly. I couldn’t believe how quickly the last 34 flights went and my momentum instantly picked up knocking down one flight after another up the Hancock Building. Seemingly minutes later, I heard “2 more flights to go” and proceeded to sprint through the finish line eyeing my parents cheering in the distance. What a pleasure to see those two familiar faces…21 minutes and 18 seconds later!

94 Flights, check. 1,632 steps, check. 1,500 feet up in the air, check. Running in my first ever Tower Race, check. Exhausted, check.

And in case you are wondering, the record time for “Hustle up the Hancock is 9 minutes and 30 seconds if you are looking for a challenge one year from now.

I know my dad is in…

To see more photos, go to: Hustle up the Hancock

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Bring on the Hancock!

My First Tower Race

94 flights, 1,632 steps, 4,000 competitors and 1500 feet high above the ground is where I intend to be 30 mins or so after this race! I have been greatly looking forward to coming to the Windy City and tackling my first ever Tower Race in preparation for The Great Wall of China Marathon and it’s 5,164 steps along the way.

I think this will be an excellent barometer for where my current level of fitness stands and I am eager to run up this building that has a view spanning 4 states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The Observatory elevators of the John Hancock center travel 94 floors at a top speed of 1800 ft/min (20.5 mph). My hope is to race up these stairs and enjoy a nice cold beverage on the way down…in the elevator!

I look forward to this challenge today and cannot wait to show photos, video highlights and write a story on this wonderful opportunity and experience to run on behalf of my Papa along with all patients and families fighting against PPA…

In the battle of Run4Papa v. Hancock Building, my early predication is MAN shall conquer on this day…

2012 Northwestern CNADC Fundraiser

A Night of Awareness in the Windy City

Myself with Dr. Marsel Mesulam, Director of Northwestern CNADC and man who first identified PPA.

Leaving 70 degree weather behind in Charlotte, North Carolina and heading up north to the Windy City of 25 degrees, blistering winds and snow may not sound ideal on paper; however, when such a tremendous group of people come together for a great cause like this one, it’s a no brainer!

The goal? To get a bunch of local Chicago-ans and friends together in one room to support THE CAUSE by raising awareness and funds for the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC), the #1 research facility in the world for PPA research. Thanks to Kevin Connolly and his wonderful team at CNADC, we brought in over 100+ guests for this event. Friends came in the cold to support this journey and our host, Rock Bottom Brewery, did a fantastic job of keeping people’s glasses and bellies full the entire evening.

Not only did this fundraiser bring a hefty amount of money, but we had a multitude of activities taking place throughout including a PPA video (made in my hometown of Charlotte), a silent auction and a raffle featuring prizes local Chicago-ans took full advantage of.

We had the distinct honor of meeting Dr. Marsel Mesulam, the doctor who first identified PPA and Director of the CNADC medical department along with his wife Dr. Sandra Weintraub, a renowned doctor with a PhD in NeuroPsychology . We had the pleasure of meeting patients who had been diagnosed with PPA who were proud of the work being down with this campaign along with their inspirational family members fighting everyday for more awareness and treatment for THE CAUSE.  We had friends and family that lived in Chicago show-up as well as people whom have been following this cause from Day 1. I was thrilled to finally meet them in person! On top of that, there were several people who ran The Great Wall of China Half and Full Marathon in attendance. You better believe I was picking their brains for stories, advice and feedback about the run ahead!

Through the diligent work of the CNADC team, 6 amazing packages were assembled for the silent auction. Moreover, a raffle was held at the end of the evening giving away prizes from local Chicago vendors and sponsors.

Lori Gapinski, one of many people attending the event remarked, “Had a wonderful time tonight at the fundraiser. Such good people and all our best to Jason. Thank you for all that you are doing! Good Luck on Sunday and May 19th! We all will be thinking of you as you are doing such a wonderful thing for the people that are suffering with PPA and the loved ones surrounding them.”

You never know how an event is going to come together when you start from scratch, but I think it is fair to say, we were blown away by the turnout and support last night. Without a doubt, the CNADC fundraiser delivered BIG-TIME!

With the fundraiser being a massive success across the board, we can now focus on the race ahead – Hustling up the Hancock building against 4,000 other competitors.

94 Flights. 1,632 steps await. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

To see more photos, go to: Hustle up the Hancock

To watch the speeches, go to: CNADC and Run4Papa Speeches

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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: