Razor Sharp Minds Foundation

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by Jennifer Tomazic

MENOMONEE FALLS -- How does a race help keep a mind sharp? Exercise has shown effective in helping to ward off Alzheimer's and dementia and it also raises money for an organization designed to find a cure for the diseases.

The Razor Sharp Minds Foundation began in 2009 when Aaron Nodolf wanted to do something to help his extended family. His father in law was retroactively diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2003 and since that time, Aaron saw how it affected his wife, Kim, and her family.

"I don't know who he recognizes, certainly not me, but hopefully Kim," said Aaron. "That's what really hit me hard so I said if there is something I'm going to focus on, it's going to be that."

Aaron had already established a road race the year before and decided to dedicate it to raising funds for scientific research into a cure for the brain wasting diseases. It all came together to form the Razor Sharp Minds Foundation Fall Classic Run.

"It was exciting to me because my family struggled with my dad's diagnosis," said Kim. "Running is Aaron's passion so to be able to create something he's always loved and to be able to find a reason to make it worthwhile was great."

Kim is also a runner and she says her dad was always her biggest cheerleader growing up. Now she's become his in his fight against Alzheimer's. She ran the Chicago Marathon in his honor and says he's been living in a long term care facility since 2005.

"His personality changed, his ability to interact slowly deteriorated," said Kim. "He's such a neat man and Aaron never got to see that part of him, he never got to see the silly things he used to do."

But Aaron is hoping that Razor Sharp Minds Foundation will eliminate this problem for other families in the future.

"Finding a cure, that's the end game," said Aaron.

He makes sure that nearly 90% of the money the non-profit raises goes directly to scientist in the region studying Alzheimer's and dementia. The Fall Classic Run is the foundation's biggest fundraiser and more than 200 people came out for it on Sunday, October 23.

The organization is small, but it's backed by a powerful group.

Trae Hoepner of Performance Running Outfitters joined the board instantly when Aaron approached him about it.

"My mother has since passed away, my grandmother, an aunt, and I have one aunt that has Alzheimer's and is living with it right now," said Hoepner. "Razor Sharp Minds Foundation gives everybody a chance to help give back. There's so many ways to do this nowadays, but I think this way, it helps keep the community active."

For more information on Razor Sharp Minds Foundation, log onto www.thefallclassicrun.com

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