Jason Surface is putting his body to the test in an effort to help those who no longer have that ability. The former Glen Cove resident is racing in the Ironman Lake Placid on July 24 under Team Fox in honor of his mother, Charmian Surface, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
“I started running triathlons in 2014 and decided to run an Ironman in honor of my Iron mother,” said Surface, 49.
He now lives in Saguache, CO, and chose the Lake Placid Ironman since his mother and family still live on Long Island.
He said that his mother “has lived a remarkable life” that started in Leeds, England. A professional ballet dancer and actress, she performed on Broadway in the 1950s, appearing in My Fair Lady.
“She met my father Herb at that time, who was also appearing as a singer in My Fair Lady,” said Surface. “Both my parents left the theater to raise a family in Glen Cove.”
His mother taught ballet and opened the Dance Studio on Glen Street in the 1970s, then moved to a larger space Glen Cove Avenue, renaming the studio to Charmian’s Center.
“She dedicated herself to the advancement of dance and touched countless lives in the community. After retiring from dance she decided to become a Pilates instructor in her 60s,” said Surface.
He said she sold Charmian’s Center in 1996 or 1997, then became a second generation Pilates instructor—meaning she trained under Romana Kryzanowska, who trained under Joseph Pilates. She taught Pilates for more than a decade in a renovated garage on her property until she retired two years ago, at almost 78 years old, due to the debilitation of Parkinson’s disease.
“I have watched this beautiful vibrant woman deteriorate to the point of requiring 24-hour care in a skilled nursing facility. She now spends most of her time in a wheel chair and also suffers from the onset of dementia,” said Surface.
There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects five million people worldwide. By racing for Team Fox, The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) grassroots community fundraising program, Surface is helping to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s disease research. All funds raised through Team Fox go directly to MJFF to further its mission to accelerate the delivery of life-changing treatments, and ultimately a cure, to people with Parkinson’s disease.
Surface has been on a strict training schedule for the past six months, training six to seven days a week for up to eight hours a day. He spends at least three days per week on each discipline, either swimming, bicycling or running. The higher altitude he trains at could put him at an advantage, though he’s a little concerned about the humidity. Still, he’s looking forward to being back in New York and completing the race. He originally hoped his mother would be able to make the trip to Lake Placid to see him race, but her health is not up to it. He said he a lot of friends and family members who will be there to cheer him on, and she will be there with him in spirit.
“My mother is always with me when I train and motivates me through my hardest sessions,”said Surface. “She will be with me when I cross that finish line.”
To donate, visit www2.michaeljfox.org/site/