Friday, May 29, 2015

Schwalbach to Cross Finish Line of Jackie's Run Saturday

By Mark Collier and Stephanie Class 

Schwalbach with fellow runners Joshua Strzala and Walt Neubauer take time for a selfie on Jackie's Run. You can make a donation Saturday or at  http://www.jackieclemrun.com
Fort Thomas resident, Steve Schwalbach, has been running a lot over the last week. After today, he will have tallied up 312 clicks in the last eight days as he's traversed the state of Ohio, starting in Cleveland and ending up at the Water Tower in Fort Thomas tomorrow at 6:00.

"Jackie's Run" started last year as Schwalbach decided to run the state of Kentucky to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's disease. Saturday will be a chance for local Fort Thomas residents to come together to help put an end to this disease by donating to the Alzheimer's Association. Event goers can cheer Steve onto the finish line and enjoy an after party at the Olde Fort Pub.

Raising funds for Alzheimer's is a cause close to Schwalbach's heart. “My mother had Alzheimer's for more than fourteen years. She passed away this past March,” said Schwalbach. According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and someone in the United States develops the disease every 67 seconds.

Steve also runs in honor of Clem Fennell (III), who was diagnosed with dementia in 2007.

L to R: Clem Fennell (IV), Casey Fennell, Vickey and Clem (IV)

"I’m often asked how he is doing and unfortunately this disease continues to take away Dad’s abilities. He has been completely mute and living in a nursing home for over three years. His mobility is extremely limited, as he continues to decline both physically and mentally," said his son, Clem Fennell IV,  "Witnessing these changes is heartbreaking and to know that there are another 5.3 million Americans suffering is tragic, but thanks to passionate people like Steve, advances are being made in the search for an end to Alzheimer’s and dementia." 


Last year, the inaugural Jackie's Run spanned seven days running a Kentucky-based course, and successfully raised over $15,000 for Alzheimer's. This year's course took Schwalbach and fellow runners throughout 328 miles of Ohio. “The route is actually from Cleveland to Cincinnati. It's all done on bike paths, which would include the Loveland Bike Trail. A lot of it's done on the Erie Trail."

This year's Jackie's Run officially kicked off on May 22 and lasts tomorrow. The route was as follows:

     Day 1: Cleveland to Sagamore Hills - 22.55 miles
     Day 2: Sagamore Hills to Canal Fulton - 42.86 miles
     Day 3: Canal Fulton to Frederickburg - 38.36 miles
     Day 4: Frederickburg to Mt. Vernon - 38.37 miles
     Day 5: Mt Vernon to Dublin - 46.45 miles
     Day 6: Dublin to London - 39.53 miles
     Day 7: London to South Xenia - 52.42 miles
     Day 8: South Xenia to Avoca park (Cincinnati) - 30 miles
     Day 9: Avoca park (Cincinnati) to Fort Thomas, KY - 16.1 miles

Tower Park's iconic water tower will serve as the finish line. The runners are scheduled to arrive at the finish line at approximately 6:00 p.m. on May 30, 2015. The Olde Fort Pub will be the site of the post-run party. Anyone is invited to stop by to cheer on the runners as they finish, and to celebrate at The Pub following the run. Cheering on the runners as they finish Jackie's Run would be a great way to support Schwalbach and his fellow runners. “I mean really, supporting us would be to be at the finish line and even Fort Thomas Pub that night. And to donate, of course,” said Schwalbach.

Fennell with his daughter, Maggie. 
Running 328 miles over a 10-day period of time is a massive accomplishment, and certainly won't come without some difficulties. Throughout the run, Schwalbach has looked to his mom to keep him inspired and motivated. “I do think of my mom quite a bit,” said Schwalbach. “I mean, that's the biggest thing. I do love to run and to raise money for charity. The biggest thing is my mom. She's done so much for me, and this is the least I can do in return.”

Your donations would be going to researchers who have advanced treatments greatly to slow or even stop Alzheimer’s and dementia. The newest developments include imaging techniques that allow researchers to view indicators in the brain that may show signs of Alzheimer’s. There have also been advances that allow doctors to look for early warning signs of the disease in blood and genetics.

This disease has ravished the Schwalbach and Fennell families, but they are fighting back the best way they know how. "It will be a lot of fun Saturday. It's an incredible accomplishment by Steve and I'm honored that he's made my dad a part of it," said Fennell. "Alzheimer's is a terrible disease and there is not enough funding going towards finding a cure. Events such as this help plus you get to see a real life Forrest Gump."

If you donate:
Please consider making a $25 donation to help "Jackie's Run" to reach their goal of raising $20,000 for the Greater Cincinnati chapter. You can make a donation to at http://www.jackieclemrun.com. You can also mail checks to Clem Fennell (IV) at: 404 South Grand Ave. Ft. Thomas, KY 41075. Please make checks out to the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati. Donations can also be made at the pub on the day of the event.

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