PM360 recently spoke to Tom Fussaro, Associate Director, Health Systems Marketing at Astellas Pharma US, Inc., about why he likes to run for a cause.
PM360: We hear that you not only enjoy running, but you have a specific interest in running for charity. What was your most recent altruistic racing endeavor?
I teamed up with a good friend of mine to run the 2014 New York City Marathon on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. We raised more than $15,000 for Alzheimer’s research and services for Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers and were the top-fundraising team in the Alzheimer’s Association New York City Chapter. Additionally, I’ve run in races to support breast cancer research and have plans in 2015 to support that cause as well.
Why did you get into running, and what made you start wanting to do it for charity?
I enjoy running for the health benefits and the opportunity to run with my wife. Her father started the first running shoe store in the state of Illinois in 1974, and it was in business for 40 years until his retirement last year.
However, I am even more passionate about supporting causes like Alzheimer’s and breast cancer research and services for patients and caregivers. My grandfather and many family members suffered from Alzheimer’s, and my mother is a breast cancer survivor.
Did your experience with your mother and grandfather inspire you to want to help fund research for these diseases?
My mother battled breast cancer while being the primary caregiver for my grandfather during his lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. So while there is no doubt that research is vital, support for caregivers is equally important. Fundraising for these causes is a small part I can play to help patients and caregivers in their battle against these horrible diseases. And it’s great to do it in a healthy and community-oriented way like running!
How long have you been running for charity?
I’ve been more and more involved in the last few years—and now I try to run at least three races a year.
Do you enjoy doing anything else in your spare time?
Beyond running, I love spending time with my wife and two-year-old son. I can already tell he’s a runner too—by how we have to chase him around all the time!
What else would you still like to pursue at some point?
Another passion is travel. I actually hope to pair my passion for running and travel by running a marathon every year in a new city. Maybe an international marathon might be in the cards!