Anthony Cassio from North Massapequa, NY started running in order to find a quick and easy way to stay in shape while studying in school. Not long after that, he learned that the sport provides more for him than just physical benefits. What began as a casual pastime for Anthony became a much-needed outlet after his family was affected by pancreatic cancer.
In June of 2022, Anthony’s father was diagnosed with the disease. Anthony and his fiancée, Jen, wanted to find a way to support his father and pancreatic cancer research efforts. The two found Project Purple, which provided them with an opportunity to get involved and to run for a world without pancreatic cancer.
The 2023 NYC Half Marathon will be Anthony and Jen’s first race with Project Purple. It is scheduled to take place on March 19, and as they continue their training, Anthony looks to his father for motivation.
“I have never had such motivation to push my limit, especially when it comes to running,” Anthony said. “Now when I run, I feel an emotional connection to it. Whenever a run gets tough, all I think about is crossing that finish line and running straight to my Dad. That moment is something I look forward to every day, and I am eternally grateful that Project Purple has allowed me to run for such an important cause.”
Anthony and Jen started their own Project Purple fundraising team that collects donations towards pancreatic cancer research and patient financial aid. They have raised over $7,000 and counting, which is more than double their original goal of $2,500.
“The reason we smashed our fundraising goal was more of a testament to my father than anything,” Anthony said. “The overwhelming support really came from how much of an impact my father has had on our family and friends’ lives. I truly believe everyone saw the reason we’re running was to honor my dad, and people immediately jumped on the opportunity to support us.”
The Project Purple community remains dedicated to helping patients and families affected by pancreatic cancer. With over a month until The NYC Half Marathon, Project Purple teams have combined to fundraise over $70,000 at the time of writing this article. If you would like to donate to celebrate this incredible team’s efforts, click here.