The Numbers Are In....




 (Heidi and Betsy at the start- yes I’m wearing a trash bag.  It was chilly!)


At 7am, May 5th 2013, Heidi and I joined 25,000 other runners at the start line to the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Everyone was running for a reason.  Some were there to PR or to qualify for a different race; Others just because they love Pittsburgh and what better way to show their support to their city?  We chatted at the start with a husband and wife that run the relay with some friends every year.  To our left were a handful of police officers running for their squadron.  Another husband and wife ran the marathon together every year, but since his wife was eight months pregnant, he ran the full and she “only” ran the half.  I repeat – at 8 months pregnant, she ran 13.1 miles.  39 Boston marathoners that were not able to finish the race because of the bombings were flown down, and with their Boston numbers and shirts, were able to finish the race here in Pittsburgh. 

Many were running for an official charity - Animal Rescue League, American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital, Susan G Koman, Cystic Fibrosis, in support our veterans and troops…Aid for Haiti…the list goes on.  And then there were some were running for unofficial causes – in memory of [mom], [dad], [grandfather]…  for a girl named, Jodie, this was a tribute run in memory and of her twin sister – Jaime, who lost her battle to cancer earlier this year.

Mike Bruno, father to a 7yr old with Autism and born blind, ran 26.2 miles blindfolded in order “to gain a better understanding of what Cassie deal with on a daily basis.

And of course, we can’t forget the crazies-- And by crazy, I mean the people that run marathons because they find them enjoyable.   ;)

Regardless the reason, one thing was the same for everyone this Sunday – passion.  
Heidi, mile 16ish?
Heidi and I ran with Mom and Nanny on our hearts, and thoughts of the survivors --Grandpop and Dad, my cousin Shelli—who now has to mow the lawn (and rocks at it) after losing her husband last month, and my friend Melanie—who just took her first steps with her new (and sexy) prostatic – after her fight with skin cancer. 
Betsy - "just keep swimming...just keep swimming..."

If Sunday were a book or a movie, the passion and emotion of the event would have made the run feel easy.  We would have finished in a full sprint, classical music blaring, bursting into tears at the finish. 



Heidi and I were on a runner’s high for the first 8-11 miles; feeding off the excitement of the crowd and cheers.  Then came the hill at about mile 12. All hope for classical music and a sprinting finish were lost.
I hit “the wall” at 19 miles.  But I ran through it; never stopping.  As I ran through the finish, a volunteer handed me the metal and congratulated me.  My response was “that was awful,” in a half joking /half serious voice. The gentleman laughed and said I made his day. 


Heidi and I eventually reunited, but not before there was some confusion on the Port a Pots “meet up” we had planned out (in case we didn’t finish together)…and a long hobble back to our car.  (Heidi and I had parked in the Strip District – thinking it was a location far enough away we could get out easy after the race.  It was far enough away, alright.  Took us almost 40 minutes to hobble back to it!!) 

So all in all – not exactly the fairytale finish! 

All joking aside, we could not ask for better results. The Bluefield Project had emailed us the night before to update the family on the total donations –so Heidi and I were able to go into the run knowing the goal had been met. (Thank you).  

Even as I write this, my eyes well with gratitude.  We've said this before, and we'll say it again and again – thanks to all of you and through each and every one of you, Mom has once again, been able to do what she did best – give herself to others.  The Pittsburgh Marathon is over, but we will continue writing and sharing Mom's story, our first run with FTD (and run-ins with the police) in order to educate and continue to raise funds (cocktails and Chinese auction this summer??)

And so, without further ado, here are the numbers:

Ø  10           – the number of known types of dementia:
·         Alzheimer’s disease
·         Vascular dementia
·         Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
·         Mixed dementia
·         Parkinson’s disease
·         Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
·         Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
·         Normal pressure hydrocephalus
·         Huntington’s Disease
·         Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (alcohol related)


  • 3.8 Million           - the estimated number of people currently with some form of dementia
  •  9.1 Million          - the projected number by 2040
  •  $109 BILLION  - amount spent in direct health care costs in 2010 (for heart disease - $102B; $77B for cancer)
  •  2040                     - The year dementia care cost and number of people with dementia is projected to double (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/04/health/dementia-care-costs-are-soaring-study-finds.html?_r=0)**
  • 56                          - The age Mom - Mary Flanagan Hall was when she was diagnosed with FTD
  • 80                          - The age “Nanny” – Marge Flanagan was when she was diagnosed with FTD
  • 61                          - The age FTD took Mom away

Now some numbers on the other side of the coin.


  • FIVE      - the number of children Mary raised into successful young adults 
    • (2 engineers, 2 teachers and a graphic arts/IT specialist)
  • FOUR    - (soon to be 5!) is the no. of grandchildren she would have to spoil this Mother’s Day 
    • (Emma, Lily, Josh, Henry)
  • 40           - the number of people that have donated in honor of Mom and Nanny as of 5/6/2012
  •  2,966     - the number of times someone has opened the blog and hopefully now know a little more about the “other” dementias and about Mom (just between March 17th and May 6th 2013)
  • 11           - the number of COUNTRIES that the blog has been viewed from.
  • 4 hrs 8 minutes -  Heidi’s time in the Pittsburgh Marathon – “Race for Mom”
  • 4 hrs 19 minutes - My (Betsy) time in the Pittsburgh Marathon “Race for Mom”
  •  $5000                    - Our first goal for the Pittsburgh Marathon
  •  $5,640           - The amount raise when by the time Heidi and I stepped onto the start line


Thank you all for your support…


Mom holding Henry and Josh, May 2012

The whole "Gang" Dec 2012 -(L-R, B-F) Megan holding Josh, Tina holding Lily, Adam holding Emma, Elly holding Henry, Dad, Mom, Heidi, Brandon, Grandpop

Mom, Emmagene, Grandpop, Dec 2012


Post a Comment