Running for Jerry, Running for a Cure

Tim Kanold ran the Chicago Marathon on a dare from his best friend Jerry Cummins. Thirty years later, Tim returns to the Windy City to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in Jerry’s memory.

Four adults stand with their arms around one another, smiling and holding beverages in front of a pool.
Dave, Anna, Tim, and Corinne in Tim’s backyard in California. 

Jerry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. On a long walk with Tim in Mission Bay, CA, Jerry shared concerns about memory loss. Tim said, “Our usual lively interaction and banter with one another quickly dissipated once Jerry announced to me, in a matter-of-fact tone, ‘I am having trouble remembering things.’ We walked until dark that day.

“It was the beginning of a six-year Alzheimer’s journey with Jerry that began slowly as he gradually drifted from knowing who I was, and ended with emotionless moments together, that left me in desperate tears, hoping he could somehow feel and know my deep love for him.”

Their friendship spanned decades, with countless moments of laughter, friendship, and travel. “No matter where we would travel,” said Tim, “we would find a place to walk and talk and to have our deepest conversations. We shared that rare friendship of understood joy and pain, all of the best and the worst that comes from the challenge of living your best life on as many days as possible—every single season.”

Early in 2021, Tim decided to honor one of the most significant friendships of his life by running 26.2 miles. “It is a long run for me and my body at this stage of my life. The training is hard, and has had its ebbs and flows, but I love that this run can support research that just may help the future Jerry’s of this world.”

Tim gathered friends and family to join him. “Our youngest daughter Anna leads our ‘Run 4 Jerry’ team, along with two wonderful Lodi friends, Dave Phillips and Corinne Howe. And I am so grateful for our merry band of runners.” 

ALZ Stars athletes commit to raising funds for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. They receive entry to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, coaching, branded gear, and more. Tim asked friends, neighbors, and professional connections to support his fundraising effort. “It has been both humbling and rewarding. Most of them have donated because of their love for my colleague…Jerry Cummins. Some of them donated out of respect for me, and some out of respect for the ALZ disease and their own experience of suffering with a family member.”

Tim pushed through health setbacks in his summer training schedule and is counting down the days until Chicago. “As to my training, it honestly has had so many challenges unlike anything I have experienced before…But this 2021 year has been filled with challenges as I stretch my body out for the full marathon.”

Tim hits the startline in Chicago on Sunday, October 10, in honor of his closest friend. “I know too, that my story with Jerry is not unique,” says Tim. Tim, Anna, Dave, and Corinne will cover over a hundred miles collectively, with every stride moving us closer towards a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.

Donate to team “Run 4 Jerry” or learn more about ALZ Stars. Registration for the 2022 Bank of America Chicago Marathon is expected to open mid-October 2021. Email tjcollings @ alz.org to reserve your spot on the 2022 ALZ Stars team. 

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