Purple bagels and a 5-mile run bring community awareness
to alzheimer's disease

Family Bagels

Family and community came together at a recent kick-off event for one man's campaign for Alzheimer's awareness. On a clear, but very chilly day, Jay Asparro, of Plainview, took to the streets to run a little over five miles to highlight a mission spurred on by several passions: love for his grandmother, Ann Asparro, who is living with Alzheimer's, his concern for other families struggling with the disease and his dedication to supporting the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation (LIAF).

Jay began his run at LIAF's new facility at 1025 Old Country Road in Westbury and finished up at Family Bagels in Plainview. There, surrounded by several family members and LIAF staff, he announced "The 2017 Ann Asparro Run" and handed LIAF nearly $38,000 raised from his inaugural run last year. "Last year I focused on raising awareness about Alzheimer's effect on my own family, about LIAF and the great stuff they do. I saw the positive effect of my run on other families. LIAF is here on Long Island to help these families," he says.

While David Rokofsky of Acoustic Angry Alice strummed a guitar, taking requests from the patrons gathered at Family Bagels, Neal Schatt spoke of Jay's quest and "giving back." Owner of the establishment for the past 11 years, Neal says, "I met Jay a few years ago, when he was a customer. We got to talking about his plans for a 90-mile run fundraiser (which became the 2016 Ann Asparro Run) for Alzheimer's and LIAF and I wanted to help him achieve his goal. I got banners made and I decided to make a purple bagel for awareness of Alzheimer's disease. " The bagels have been available since then, with a part of the sales being donated to LIAF. Along with his support of several charities, Neal is proud to call his customers, "family," something that factored into the chosen name for his business. "I want to know my customers by name, have them greeted with a warm welcome every time they come in. To have a friendly atmosphere where my customers feel like family."

As always, the team at LIAF is grateful for Jay's continued support. Tori Cohen, LIAF's Executive Director, says, "We are so grateful to Jay and Family Bagels for supporting our mission. We're so excited to be more centrally located now and have a bigger space to be able to help more people at our state-of-the-art facility. And every dollar raised goes toward the programs."

Jay and LIAF will host another event, "Let's Roll for the Run," on March 26 at Plainview Lanes, located at 500 Old Bethpage Road in Plainview. This family-friendly afternoon of bowling takes place from 1 – 3:30 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit LIAF's programs and services. For more information/registration, visit liaf.org or contact Christine Rice at 516-767-6856.  

Later this year, Jay will host a 5K run in Plainview on September 30, followed by his 75-mile run for 2017 which will take place on November 4 from Jones Beach to Oyster Bay and then at the New York City Marathon on November 5.

While Jay stresses the need to raise funding, he adds, "One of my main goals is to be a bridge between families and LIAF's amazing programs. I want to get more families connected with the programs."

This community effort, driven by one man's passion for his family and other families struggling with Alzheimer's, to a local business that believes in supporting a worthy cause, has become part of the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation's goal of making a difference in the lives of those living with Alzheimer's, and their families.

To learn more about Jay's run and to follow his journey this year, visit theannasparrorun.com Any support is greatly appreciated!

Caption: Jay Asparro presents a check with the proceeds of his 2016 run to Tori Cohen, Executive Director of the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation.

For more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, please contact Nancy Leghart, Director of External Affairs at nleghart@liaf.org or (516)767-6856 ext. 28. To schedule an intake, please contact Melissa Katz, Director of Early Stage/In-Home Respite at mkatz@liaf.org or call (516) 767-6856 ext. 14.

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For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.liaf.org