Manalapan Father Cimbs Mt. Everest on Behalf of His Son

Jim Raffone founded JAR of Hope to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease from which his 13-year-old son, James, suffers.

Jim Raffone and three other climbers hold a JAR of Hope banner on Mt. Everest
Jim Raffone, second from right, says the trek up Mt. Everest—a fundraiser for his organization, JAR of Hope—could turn into an annual event. Photo courtesy of Jim Raffone/JAR of Hope

When Jim Raffone finally reached the summit of Mt. Everest this spring, his mind was elsewhere. All he could think about was his son back at home in Manalapan.

James Anthony Raffone, who is 13 years old, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease that occurs in one out of 3,500-5,000 children.

James was diagnosed in September 2013, and soon after, Jim founded JAR of Hope, an organization named with his son’s initials in mind—and dedicated to finding a cure.

“When Jamesy was diagnosed, I went through all of my savings to raise awareness and funds to try and save his life, which is the ultimate goal,” Raffone says.

Raffone has tested himself in many physical challenges to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne, but faced his biggest challenge yet this year when he and a small team of friends and other supporters traveled to Nepal to climb Mt. Everest.

The crew reached the top after a day of acclimating and six grueling days of trekking. Raffone is already looking forward to climbing the mountain again as the organization continues to look for ways to raise money.

“I’ve had several people reach out to me and ask if I would go back,” Raffone says. “They would love to go for JAR of Hope. So this might turn into an annual event.”

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