SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– For Syracuse University instructor, Sam Sampere, running is something he’s always done for his own health, but when he came across Wai Law, an ultra runner from Long Island running the entire, newly completed Empire State Trail for Parkinson’s research, he knew he had to get involved.
“So I became aware of this on social media somewhere and my dad has Parkinson’s so you know it’s got a little special place and I’m like I can help this guy out,” Sampere said.
Sampere also lost two of his close friends to similar neurological diseases and said watching each of them fight wasn’t easy.
“To watch someone go from, you know, a happy, vibrant active person, to someone who can barely walk is really tough,” he said.
Sampere contacted Law and his team on their Facebook page to get involved and decided to meet up with him when he arrives in Central New York late Sunday night.
“So he’s going to spend the night at my house, I’ll bring him back to the trail, drop him off where I picked him up and keep going,” Sampere said. “I’d like to try and run a marathon with him.”
Law started his on-foot trek in Buffalo and plans to complete the 555-mile trail in 10 days, ending in Battery Park in NYC. This will be his longest journey yet and he’s doing it to support his good friend, Dennis Almodovar, who lost his father to Parkinson’s disease in 2017.
The fundraising goal is $555,555 in honor of the 555-mile journey. The money raised will go toward the SUNY Stony Brook University Thomas Hartman Center for Parkinson’s Research and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Sampere is hoping to encourage other CNY runners and cyclists to meet them out on the trail Monday and if you’re interested in donating to the cause you can visit the donation page here.