RMS Title & Appraisal Inspired by the Story of A Young, Local Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Sufferer
LAKEHURST, N.J. (September 22, 2022) – Would you do ten push-ups for $10 to save a young boy’s life? For Rich Domanico, President and CEO of RMS Title & Appraisal, this was a simple task when he met James Raffone, founder of JAR of Hope, six years ago. The challenge was to benefit Raffone’s son Jamesy, who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) in 2013. While ten push-ups seemed easy for someone like Domanico, for Jamesy, it was nearly impossible. Jamesy’s condition causes his body to degenerate over time. Without a cure for DMD, by age twelve, he will be in a wheelchair; by fifteen, a person with quadriplegia; by eighteen, he will not be able to breathe on his own and will likely live on a ventilator. The way Domanico saw it, the only way DMD would beat Jamesy was if we failed him.
That day was life-changing for Domanico and ignited his determination to dedicate his resources to Jamesy and the JAR of Hope, the organization Jamesy’s father founded in his honor to spread awareness and raise funds to support families of DMD and fund research toward finding a cure. JAR of Hope intends to find a cure not just for Jamesy but for many other boys worldwide who are collectively suffering.
Domanico quickly put his passion for the cause to work and promised to match whatever was raised through the push-up challenge. But he didn’t stop there; he also pledged $1 for each appraisal through his RMS Title & Appraisal agency to donate to the cause. Following the challenge, Domanico knew he wanted to be more involved and quickly became a board member and eventually the Chairman of the Board to support the mission of JAR of Hope even further.
DMD is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration. It primarily affects boys, most of whom must use wheelchairs by age twelve. Unfortunately, many do not survive past their mid-twenties. Duchenne affects 300,000 boys worldwide; and 20,000 children in the United States alone. Children with DMD are robbed of their childhood as their ability to run and play slowly deteriorates, and even the simplest movement is painful. There is a need for knowledge, volunteerism, and funding surrounding DMD and its research. While most non-profit work comes from situations where individuals have unfortunately succumbed to the disease, this effort changes the narrative by working to save Jamesy and many other boys with the same condition before time runs out.
Since 2010, a team at the University of Florida (UF) has been studying and developing sensitive MRI biomarkers that detect muscle damage and inflammation in dystrophic muscles, even in the early stages of the disease. This past January, they began using innovative methods to measure changes in muscle. Through their research, the team found that after treatment with an investigational gene therapy, three young boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy had considerably lower muscle fat infiltration than boys receiving standard treatment. This finding is a breakthrough because it will help determine if certain therapeutics can be effective for some DMD patients. In February, a new $6.25 million grant will allow UF to expand its ten-year study of muscular dystrophy disease progression. However, there is still insufficient time, talent, and funding to make the necessary strides.
On Friday, August 12th, JAR of Hope hosted their 2022 Golf Outing at Mercer Oaks Golf Course. Domanico and the RMS Title & Appraisal team contributed to a $13,000 raise against a $78,794 profitability for the event that will aid in supporting the new clinical study. Amongst a hundred of his peers, Domanico was honored for being a sponsor and his commitment to the cause with a plaque and a standing ovation.
He stated, “I don’t do this for the recognition or for my business; I just want to help Jamesy and his family find a cure so he can live out a normal life. My ask is that if you have time, talent, or funding to give – join us in this effort to support the research to find a cure.”
Through strength, courage, hope, and love, it is the selflessness of many who live by the motto, “Together, we can find a cure.” It takes millions of dollars to find a cure, but with your help, JAR of Hope will continue to support a team of research scientists and doctors dedicated to eliminating Duchenne. The organization continues to receive time, talent, and financial contributions toward clinical studies and also provides support for these boys and their families because every day and every dollar counts. With organized fundraising events and support from you, we can make the dream and reality by finding a cure for DMD. To donate time, intelligence or funding, please visit JARofHope.org or Venmo @JARofHope.
Rich Domanico (pictured right) proudly showcases a plaque he received on August 12th, 2022, for his sponsorship of the 2022 JAR of Hope 2022 Golf Outing at Mercer Oaks Golf Course. JAR of Hope is an organization founded by James Raffone (pictured left) in honor of his son, Jamesy Raffone (also pictured left), which aims to spread awareness and raise funds to support families of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and fund research toward finding a cure for Jamesy and other boys worldwide with the same condition.