Running The Coast For A Cure
By Al DeCesaris
Genre: Nonfiction Memoir
Paperback: 366 pages
Published: April 9, 2016
In 2014, Al DeCesaris set out on a 1,935-mile solo run from Lubec, Maine to Key Largo, Florida. He ran to bring hope to his 10-year-old niece Jenna who suffers with Sturge-Weber Syndrome, a rare and life-threatening neurological disorder. He ran to create awareness and raise funds for medical research so a cure can be found.
For three consecutive months, he battled the rigors of the road, endured numerous injuries, encountered wild animals, and narrowly escaped getting hit by more than a few reckless drivers. Yet, he also experienced the generosity of strangers, had heart-warming interactions with families affected by this devastating disorder, and came to realize - with purpose, determination, and belief - even the seemingly impossible can be achieved.
Running The Coast For A Cure is one man's journey to make a difference for his niece. Told with humor and warmth, Al candidly captures the adversity he faced and the joy he experienced as he ran close to a marathon a day through 14 states down the East Coast. His journey of love and hope will have you running with him, and leave you inspired.
I was determined to make a difference in Jenna’s life and in the lives of all those suffering with this devastating disorder. Thus, on the heels of my 2013 cross-country bike ride, which I chronicled in my book, Crossing America For A Cure: A Bicycle Journey Of Inspiration And Hope, I began training for a new charity event – a solo athletic endeavor that would have me running close to a marathon a day through 14 states down the entire East Coast.
I suppose I could have come up with something a little less arduous (no doubt, my legs would have appreciated it), but I wanted to do something unique and eye-opening to create as much awareness and raise as much money for Sturge-Weber research as possible. My plan was to run (walk … and even crawl, if necessary) on average 22 miles a day for three consecutive months from Lubec, Maine to Key Largo, Florida. Picking up each day exactly where I left off the day before, I would cover every mile (every foot actually) down the coast.
Now, it’s no secret I’ve never been much of an athlete. And I didn’t have the running experience that would lead one to believe I could accomplish something this ambitious. In fact, even though I planned to run close to a marathon a day, I’d never actually run a marathon. Still, I have something within me that I knew would make this seemingly impossible task achievable – purpose. My purpose is my desire to help my beautiful young niece Jenna live a better life. For her and because of her, I am inspired to fight Sturge-Weber Syndrome on her behalf.
Al’s crusade began not long after the birth of his niece. Recognizing the need and importance of raising funds for the research and treatment of Sturge-Weber Syndrome, he and his family organized a concert and auction fundraiser called Bands on the Bay. The fundraiser proved to be a huge success and motivated them to turn it into an annual event. Since its inception, Bands on the Bay has raised over $1,000,000. This money has directly supported the work of the Sturge-Weber Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute and helped fund research that led to the discovery of the cause of Sturge-Weber Syndrome.
Even with the success of Bands on the Bay and the DeCesaris family’s contributions to this ground-breaking discovery, Al couldn’t help but think that there was more they could do to further the efforts to find a cure. More he could do.
In 2013, he set out on a solo cross-country bicycle journey in honor of Jenna. Despite great adversity, he biked over 3,000miles from Santa Monica, California to Ocean City, Maryland. Through his Crossing America For A Cure bike ride, he created awareness about Sturge-Weber Syndrome across the country, raised critical funds for medical research, and brought hope to his niece and countless others suffering with this devastating disorder.
In 2014, he took on another incredibly challenging endeavor, this time on foot. Running close to a marathon a day for three consecutive months, he logged 1,935 miles as he made his way from Lubec, Maine to Key Largo, Florida. Through his Running The Coast For A Cure charity run, he created awareness about Sturge-Weber Syndrome down the East Coast, raised additional funds for ongoing research, and inspired numerous individuals to join the fight against the disorder.
After both his ride and his run, Al wrote books about his experiences on the road: the things he saw, the emotions he felt, the challenges he faced and of the extraordinary people he met along the way. His books about these athletic endeavors, Crossing America For A Cure and Running The Coast For A Cure, are honest, entertaining and, above all, inspirational.
Al’s “For A Cure” books are available for purchase on Amazon. To further the efforts to find a cure, Al is dedicating all profits from the sale of his books to Sturge-Weber research.