Nov. 20 gala will assist children

MANALAPAN — JAR of Hope, a foundation for children with a very rare, fatal illness, is staging a fundraising gala on Nov. 20 and the event will be particularly poignant because one of these children is a resident of Manalapan.

JAR of Hope was started two years ago by Manalapan residents Jim and Karen Raffone when their 4-year-old son Jamesy was diagnosed with a very rare, and fatal, mutation of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

This mutation is so rare, in fact, that Jamesy is one of only 120 children – all boys – in America who have it. Its victims are in wheelchairs by their early teens and die by their early 20’s, according to a press release from the foundation.

JAR of Hope has become increasingly visible in recent months; in August, it staged a fundraising event that nearly broke the Guinness world record for the most people doing push-ups together. Now, it is hosting a gala at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Battleground Country Club, Manalapan.

There will be a silent auction, including memorabilia donated by the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, according to the press release.

Pat Marzo, commissioner of the Manalapan Youth Football Association, will present the “Player of the Year” award. Kim “Docks” Wisniewski, owner of Docks Clam Bar, will present the “All-Star Award.” Entertainment will be provided by Freestyle group TKA, along with 102.7/KTU DJ Antonio Corrao. There will be a gourmet dinner, a five-hour open bar and raffles.

“These young boys can’t speak for themselves,” Jim Raffone said. “So we are speaking for them. We are showing them and their families, and the rest of the world, that someone does care and that there are people who will not just give up and wait for them to die.”

For more information or to buy tickets for the gala, visit