Honoring Mom by Raising Funds by Running the NYC Marathon
Hi! I need your help. I'm taking part in the New York City Marathon to raise money for Alzheimer's Association. Currently, more than 6 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease and that number is expected to grow to nearly 13 million by 2050. Our future is at risk and we must come together to change the course of this disease. By participating in this event, I've committed to raising awareness and funds to advance the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Having grown up on Long Island, I have always wanted to run the New York City Marathon, but have only chosen to do so now because of my close personal and professional connections to the cause.
Personally, I want to fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association for my mother, Diane "Dinny" Miller Asche, who was diagnosed with and passed away from dementia in August 2021. My mother lived a full, long life, having five kids, 12 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. She grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, and came of age during World War II. She became a ballerina, studying with George Balanchine and Martha Graham (in Manhattan), before dancing with the precursor to the American Ballet Theatre and other companies. She subsequently married my father, Allen Miller (a Bronx native), before starting a family (in Queens).
Mom exhibited resilience in the face of life’s adversities. However, the social isolation stemming from visitor restrictions put into place at her assisted living facility due to the pandemic proved extremely difficult for her, exacerbating her dementia, compromising her quality of life, and contributing to her subsequent decline. Face Time visits at the height of the pandemic and 20-minute visits once weekly thereafter by a family member just didn’t cut it, but that it is all that was allowed.
This personal connection to the cause of the Alzheimer’s Association
intersects with what I do professionally, as a professor, chair, and journal editor. For more than 30 years, the focus of my scholarship has been long-term services and supports, including better supporting older adults with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia and their families. I've learned that caregiver support interventions should be offered to individuals caring for people with less advanced cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Otherwise, seemingly manageable and healthy individuals may be at increased risk for adverse outcomes when caregivers experience high levels of burden. The urgency in applying lessons like this became even more evident during the pandemic which exacerbated already high levels of social isolation among older adults, as with my mother.
The bottom line is that we can do better. We must do better, learning from the pandemic experience to improve the lives of people like my mother and the families who love them. Please make a donation to support my efforts fundraising by running the New York City Marathon. All funds raised benefit the Alzheimer's Association and its work to enhance care and support programs and advance research toward methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
Thank you for your generosity!