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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 01, 2020

Walk from Washington D.C. to Old Bridge Will Raise Money to Fight Childhood Disease

Officials from the JAR of Hope foundation will take a 260-mile “Walk For Their Lives” from Washington, D.C. to Old Bridge to raise awareness of the little-known, but often fatal, childhood disease they’re fighting.

JAR of Hope was established in 2013 by James and Karen Raffone of Manalapan, when their 4-year-old son, James “Jamesy” Anthony was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare muscle-wasting disease with which children are born.

Jim and Jamesy Raffone. Photo courtesy of Rough Edge Media

There is currently no cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

“Walk For Their Lives” will start in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Oct. 12. The following weeek, marchers will reach the last sponsored checkpoint at All American Ford Old Bridge and then the finish line at Old Bridge High School, where Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry and Congressman Chris Smith will be waiting to greet the JAR of Hope officials.

“We’ll be walking 33-35 miles a day and then camping out each night in sleeping bags β€” no showers, no amenities,” Jim Raffone said. “We’re inviting the Central Jersey community to walk along with us for portions of the 26.2 miles on the last day.”

The walk will be led by Raffone and JAR of Hope Treasurer Joe Ippolito. The event is sponsored by All American Ford of Old Bridge. The goal is to raise $50,000 to conduct research into finding a cure.

“We’ll be starting at the Rayburn House Office Building in D.C.,” Ippolito said. “We’re hoping people will join us β€” even for a little bit β€” along the way, to show support for our efforts to find a cure for this horrible disease that takes away children.”

Jamesy Raffone is now 11 and participating in a year-long Duchenne study called Operation Lifeline. The results are encouraging. JAR of Hope pays $35,000 a month for the five participants.

The “Walk For Their Lives” route will wind through Maryland and Pennsylvania before New Jersey, and stops will include municipalities such as Laurel and Baltimore in Maryland; West Chester and Lancashire in Pennsylvania; and Manalapan Township and Old Bridge in New Jersey.

“We’ll be driving down to Washington with our families, and then they’ll drive back home while we do the walk,” Jim Raffone said. “We’re really hoping that folks in New Jersey will walk alongside us for a while. People in our state have been really supportive, and these days, we appreciate that support more than ever.”