Legos have become the building blocks of love in one New Jersey community as students at several schools gathered Tuesday to support a terminally ill boy while breaking world records with his favorite toy.
Jamesy Raffone was only 4 years old when he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a deadly disorder in which muscle tissue degenerates over time. With no cure, the disease will likely claim Jamesy's life in his early 20s.
Now 7, Jamesy's parents have been dedicated to raising awareness about Duchenne and funds to fight it, establishing the JAR of Hope foundation — JAR for Jamesy's initials.
Looking to spread the word about the foundation and Jamesy's rare condition, the boy's father, James Raffone, tried to think of an event that people could get behind.
“[Jamesy is] going to end up in a wheelchair and the clock is ticking, so I thought I had to find a way people can understand and share about this disease” said James.
On Tuesday, dozens of students from three area schools joined together to piece 200,000 donated Legos into chain links with the goal of breaking the world record for longest chain of Legos, all to raise awareness for the foundation and Jamesy's condition.
The event included more than 100 students from New Jersey elementary schools, Clark Mills (where Jamesy attends) and Milford Brook, as well as CSI high school in New York's Staten Island.
Jamesy was filled with happiness when everything unfolded. “He was completely overwhelmed with the amount of support he’s received for this cause and he always loved Legos.”
The goal was to break not one, but three records involving Legos: The longest chain, assembling 10,000 Lego links in less than eight hours and the fastest Lego cleanup.
All told, the attendees were able to complete a chain of 913 meters and break all three records, according to Playwell Teknologies. The foundation is waiting for official word from Guinness World Records.
"It’s breathtaking and it’s loving to know we accomplished this” James Raffone said.
For more information about Duchenne and Jamesy's story, go to http://jarofhope.org/