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Nov 28, 2022

Jar of Hope Holding “Kickboxing Marathon” to Save Dying Children

To raise funds to cure an extremely-rare, fatal childhood disease, Jim Raffone, Founder/CEO of JAR of Hope, will go to the ends of the Earth. And he recently did. In May – at the age of 51 – he climbed to 18,372’ on Mount Everest.

The disease is Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It occurs only once in every 3,500 live births, mostly in boys. These kids are in wheelchairs by 13-14. On ventilators by 15-16. And in their graves by 22-23. After dying of asphyxiation.

“We can’t really hold traditional fund-raising events because of COVID,” says Raffone. “So we have to come up with new ways to let people know these kids will die unless we find a cure. One of those ways was to climb Mount Everest.”

Now, Mike Sclafani, owner of CKO Kickboxing Freehold (NJ) and a member of the JAR of Hope board, is pitching in with another innovative fund-raising plan.

“I was approached by one of our instructors, Jeff Trashane, with an idea to help raise funds for JAR of Hope,” Sclafani says. “He proposed a ‘Kickboxing Marathon.’ And Jim Raffone agreed that it was certainly an innovative idea.”

Accordingly, at 9 am on Saturday, Dec. 3, CKO Kickboxing Freehold will hold its “Kickboxing Marathon,” with 26 three-minute rounds and a minute between each. More than 35 people have already signed up, each pledging to raise at least $100. And they’ve already raised close to $40,000 to research a cure for these kids.

Jim and Karen Raffone formed JAR of Hope ( in 2013, after their four-year-old son James (“Jamesy”) was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Jamesy is now 13, and has lost the ability to walk.

Mount Everest is only the most recent of Raffone’s fund-raising efforts. He runs in marathons. He carries his own pack in week-long “Ultra” events with 50,000’ of altitude changes. He’s done a 300-mile walk. And he even participated in a professional boxing match last year.

“Right now,” Jim Raffone says, “Duchenne is a ticking time bomb for these kids. And it’s a challenge raising funds to cure a disease that most people have never heard of. But to us, that’s all the more reason to keep trying.”