Freestyle Dance Party funding research to cure rare disease

Major pop-music stars are joining a famous DJ to stage a benefit for JAR of Hope Foundation. The foundation focuses on funding to research a cure for a very rare, always-fatal disease affecting only children. And one of those kids is in Central Jersey.

JAR of Hope is targeting a muscle-wasting disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. By their early-teens, its victims are in wheelchairs. And by their early-20’s, they’re in graves.

The foundation was started by Manalapan residents Jim and Karen Raffone in 2013, after their then-four-year-old son, James Anthony (“Jamesy”), was diagnosed with Duchenne. And the foundation is now focused on raising money to fund research at the University of Minnesota.

The Freestyle Dance Party is at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at iPlay America, 110 Schanck Road in Freehold. The DJ – who put this event together – will be Antonio Corrao, a noted music mixer who twirls eclectic elements into gotta-dance music.

Performers will be TKA, an American Latin freestyle-dance vocal group from New York City that achieved fame with numerous Billboard dance- and pop hits; and Sweet Sensation, three ladies – also from New York – who’ve had many top-selling albums and singles.

“It should be a really fun evening,” Jim Raffone of JAR of Hope says. “Freestyle dancing is just spontaneously letting your body do whatever it wants to do. This DJ and these groups really get people out on the dance floor. And we’re thrilled to be able to get such top-name performers.”

All proceeds from the evening will go to JAR of Hope.

“Like most people, we had never heard of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy until our son was diagnosed with it,” Raffone says. “It’s a devastating blow for families. We’re working against a ticking clock to find a cure for this disease, so these kids will get the chance to become adults.”

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