BENEFITING: Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration
EVENT DATE: Nov 02, 2014
I'm running the 2014 New York City Marathon (my first) in memory of my father, Robert Austin, who passed away in 2009 from a rare neurodegenerative disease called Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). It typically strikes at an earlier age than Alzheimer's (45-65) and affects the part of the brain that controls speech, personality and judgment (rather than long-term memory). It is fatal and there is no known cure. Many patients with FTD, including my dad, also develop ALS or other motor-neuron diseases, which only accelerates their deterioration.
My mother wrote a very moving piece for the New York Times in 2010 about my dad's battle with the disease, which you can read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/fashion/11LOVE.html?pagewanted=all
FTD is a horrible disease that robs people of what makes them "them." Although running a marathon seems positively old-fashioned in the age of the Ice Bucket Challenge, I want to do whatever I can to raise awareness of FTD and hopefully raise some serious cash. All proceeds from this fundraiser will go to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (www.theaftd.org). They are a wonderful organization dedicated to supporting patients, families, and caregivers, as well as funding research to one day find a cure.
As for my marathon training, I'm not half-assing it. I'm doing the official NYRR training regimen and running five times a week. While I can't promise a sub-four hour finish, I can ensure that I will be giving it all I got.
So please donate what you can and come cheer me on November 2nd. We'll all grab a beer after the race and celebrate my dad's memory. Thank you!