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Why I chose JTCF

I'm looking to challenge myself once again, this time with a goal to run across the entirety of the State of New York (from Buffalo to Brooklyn). The distance totals around 555 miles with a mix of cinder, road, and asphalt.  My goal is to do this in 7 days, averaging out to just over three marathons each day. In preparation, the last few weeks have been quite intense with increasing the volume/mileage I have been putting on my legs for training. This past week alone, I ran over 30 miles each day. With my stellar support crew of Cody Oher, my Dad (John Clifford), along with countless family and friends that will tagging in along the way, I’m confident I can meet the goal. I will also be aiming for the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Empire Trail. The current FKT is an attempt by Ken Burke, in 11 days 16 hours and 35 minutes.

With such a momentous challenge comes a equally worthy cause. Back in 2020, during COVID, I ran across Long Island (131 miles) to support the John Theissen’s Children Foundation (JTCF). We brought together our community to help sick and underprivileged children during the trying times of COVID and beyond. Funds raised from my run across Long Island went towards a family that couldn’t afford furniture because they were paying for their sick child’s medical bills. This is just one story that we played a part in though. The over $16,000 raised went towards several other acts of kindness managed through JTCF, as well. John and his organization have touched thousands of lives. 

There are still so many children in need. John’s foundation allows for us to directly aid those individuals most impacted, in Nassau County. With the holiday season right around the corner, John will be continuing his toy drive, which brings in hundreds of thousands of toys. I am proud to be able to help support this wonderful organization once again. Whether it is offsetting the cost-of-living expenses, helping to pay for medical bills, funding a sick child’s birthday party, or anything in between, the foundation always helps those in need. Please join me, and donate today! No amount is too small.

In addition, if you would like to provide volunteer support by running, biking, or other means, please fill out the below volunteer form. 

A Word From Ryan

John Theissen.JPG

A Word From John

How JTCF came to exist

Thursday, December 8, 1988 - Twenty eight years ago today, on Thursday December 8 1988, I was 17 years old I was walking into Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park to have brain surgery the next day for a brain tumor. That day I met a seven-year old girl named Tasha. Tasha came into my room and greeted me in her pajamas, she said hello introduced herself and walked out, only later to come back in my room.

Tasha spent many hours with me for the next few days, always trying to make me happy. This little girl was in and out of the hospital throughout the year receiving different treatments for her illness. She received very little family support. She was dropped off and then picked up again when it was time to go home without having a visitor. Tasha was very excited about a holiday party sponsored by the hospital staff and was expecting her family to attend. They unfortunately did not. I was still too ill but my family agreed to take her. When Santa asked her what she had wanted, Tasha replied, “ I would like a teddy bear for friend upstairs.” I felt fortunate to be that friend. Her positive attitude and generous spirit inspired me. When I got out off the hospital I wanted to help children just like Tasha.

In 1992, I held a toy drive during the holidays to benefit children in local hospitals. During the first toy drive I collected over 800 hundred new toys in just two weeks and brought them to three different hospitals. Well that was the beginning of what has become a year round organization. Since 1992, we have collected over one million new toys and have donated them to sick and underprivileged children in over 180 hospitals and child-care facilities. We are a year round 501(C) non-profit organization that helps sick and underprivileged children in any capacity possible. To learn more about The John Theissen Children Foundation and all its program please visit or email


  • Provide hospitals and child-care facilities with therapeutic and recreational equipment

  • Support families with financial assistance to defray medical expenses

  • Offer sick and needy children toys throughout the holiday season

  • Fulfill patient's (ages birth to 18 years old) wishlists throughout the year

  • Assist sick and underprivileged children

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