Jim Raffone, the founder/CEO of JAR of Hope, has been fighting for years to save children with a fatal disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. But on June 12, he will be fighting to save them in a totally different way – in a boxing ring. At the age of 50.
Duchenne is an extremely rare (one in every 3,500 live births), muscle-wasting disease for which there is no cure, according to a press release.
Jim and Karen Raffone’s son, James Anthony, now 11, was diagnosed with Duchenne at 4. When they found out there was no cure, they started JAR of Hope to raise funds for research.
“But now, because of COVID-19, we can’t hold fundraising events,” Raffone said.
Raffone is no stranger to physical challenges as a way to raise funds. He has run numerous marathons and has participated in week-long “Ultra” races in mountain ranges in the United States and abroad, navigating up to 50,000 feet of altitude changes while carrying a heavy pack. He is the owner of six world records in his age group, according to the press release.
When Raffone heard that Official Celebrity Boxing was staging a boxing event at the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, he reached out to its founder and CEO, Damon Feldman.
Feldman, who also has a young son, was touched by Raffone’s story. He offered Raffone an opportunity to box on the undercard of a match between former NBA star Lamar Odom and singer Aaron Carter. The event would help raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Raffone quickly accepted the offer, according to the press release.
“This match offers an opportunity to increase awareness of this deadly childhood disease,” Raffone said. “And because of COVID-19, we have to take advantage of every opportunity.”
On June 12 at the Showboat Hotel, Raffone will face Tommy “The Tiger” Moose on the same card with Lamar Odom and Aaron Carter.
Raffone is currently training with professional boxer/trainer Imamu Mayfield at Mayfield’s Freehold Boxing and Fitness.
Mayfield said Raffone has the tools for success in the ring and is progressing nicely.
“For one thing, he has a burning motivation to help these kids. He’s already an athlete, with world records. He’s been training hard and he’s a big man … with a very big heart,” Mayfield said.
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