After breaking both my feet in the last 12 months I am pleased to report that I am healthy and running again! I will be lining up at Fort Wadsworth on November 3rd, and though I am fully expecting a PW (personal worst time) at the New York City Marathon, this run will be about tenacity and dedication, which my friend Jessy embodied.
My friend and DWRT teammate Jessy lost her life this summer due to an undiagnosed heart condition. I am dedicating all my training to her, as difficult as it has been, knowing that she was one tough lady and is still pushing me to keep on going. I really miss her spunky and quirky sense of humor, and waving at her as she would fly by me in Central Park. We both did some nocturnal running so she was a welcome friendly face when I'd be out running past 8PM!
I think about Jessy almost every day. In addition to remembering her when I'm running on the bridle path, I also have several prints of her beautiful botanical artwork in my apartment. The prints remind me to be present, to stop and smell the flowers, and to approach each day and each moment with a sense of wonder.
I hope that you will consider donating in honor of this amazing woman. Jessy is not the only young, seemingly healthy athlete in my life affected by a similar condition. My good friend Evan, too, gave me a scare earlier this year due to a mysterious cardiac condition, but has thankfully had his issue resolved. I am hoping that our efforts help provide better care to young athletes everywhere.
Below is a short blurb written by my teammates in their fundraising efforts. You will see that Jessy was a force. I know that together we can be too.
This July, Jessy Scarpone, a gifted and celebrated runner and artist, passed away upon cardiac arrest. She was 27 and, by most accounts, very healthy. Her death has come as a shock and tragedy, not only to her family and friends, but the running community.
Jessy had a family history of heart arrhythmias. She had noticed abnormally heart rate during workouts. But overcoming pain was also part of Jessy’s DNA as a competitive runner. “She ran her little heart out,” Carla, Jessy’s mother, recalls. “It never occurred to her to get checked out.”
We, as Jessy's family and friends, have sought for positivity and looked for ways to best mark Jessy’s legacy.
Please join us in raising awareness for heart health and further research for heart health in athletes. This year’s proceeds will go towards American Heart Association, with directed purpose of furthering research on athletes’ cardiovascular health.
A recent University of British Columbia research showed that “athletes are not immune to elevated cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular disease.” While over-alarmism is to be avoided, we hope Jessy’s case encourages those who are symptomatic to get checked and consulted.
Nevertheless, exercise is a powerful tool to promote cardiovascular health, as the American College of Cardiology reminds us. And most importantly, happy running! As Jessy shares with us, "As cheesy as it is, running has brought me into, and out of, some tough points in my life. It has taught me what it means to work for something, even if you know you may not get it – something that I’m learning applies to many aspects of adulthood. […] I’ve also met incredible people through a sport that, I once viewed as cruel and unusual punishment.”
- Jessy’s Team, 2019
Resources: Columbia University Medical Center’s Sports Cardiology (https://www.columbiadoctors.org/specialties/cardiology-cardiac-surgery/our-services/sports-cardiology) Mount Sinai Cardiology (https://www.mountsinai.org/care/heart/team
 https://bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000370 https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2014/12/22/12/10/promoting-cardiovascular-health-in-athletes-expert-analysis http://www.dashingwhippets.org/2018/06/06/campus-meets-to-city-streets-insights-on-competitive-running-after-college/