Messages Of Hope

Pushing Up… And Giving Back

By JOHN J. BURO

MARLBORO – This was two years ago, when Jake was nine.

(Note: As the Internet can be an unforgiving place at times, Jake’s parents requested that his name/school be withheld.)

Inspired by Jim Raffone’s visit to his day camp, he thought about what was said to him.

“By the time he’s my age,” Jake rationalized, “Jamesy might not be able to do a push-up.  (His condition) must be pretty bad, so I thought we could raise money.  So, we did this thing in school called Planned Events, where we made a presentation about a local news story, and I wrote an article about JAR of Hope.  I read it to my fourth grade class, and last year (Raffone) was at my school and we did push-ups.”

Jake’s father, Cesare, recounted what his son wrote down on his holiday wish list.  “He wanted to make a donation to them, and asked if he could go to my gym to (fundraise) there.  So we did, and he just took an interest in it.  He just wanted to continue with it.”

His teachers were so wildly impressed by the young man’s thoughtfulness and ensuing slide-show that he was permitted to share that story with the entire fifth grade -with the overwhelming approval of his principal and district superintendent.  When asked how much was raised, he smiled and said, “Something with a four.”  His mom, Erin, confirmed the amount to be in excess of four hundred dollars.

Jake, now 11, hasn’t yet met Jamesy, but if the opportunity was ever presented, he’d gladly welcome it.

“I’d tell him, ‘We’ve been trying to raise money for the charity.  We hope you get better.”

There was one other thing.

Jake, another young soccer player in the crowd who has been playing “a very long time” hoped for the chance to kick a ball around with Jamesy.  Quite naturally, he just enjoys running around with his friends the most and can imagine playing well into his teens.

“I like being part of a team and having something to do (within the game),” he said.

Already, his impact is being felt away from it, too.

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