Awards presented for Race to End Duchenne

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy's fundraising program has raised $15M

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by Mary Chapman |

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Race to End Duchenne, the signature fundraising program from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), has presented Team Michael James with the 2024 “Racing for Every Future Team” award, while Michael Napoli was this year’s “Make Every Day Count” award recipient.

Race to End Duchenne supports PPMD’s mission to cure the most common type of muscular dystrophy — Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a disorder characterized by progressive muscle disease and wasting that affects about one in every 5,000 live male births.

The program comprises endurance races and other racing opportunities nationwide, including a .1K series, throughout the year for runners of all abilities. To date, Race to End Duchenne has raised more than $15 million.

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Team Michael James garnered its award for its 20 years of participation in Race to End Duchenne. The team runs in honor of Michael Gaglianone of Mount Ephraim, New Jersey, whose father, Mike Gaglianone, has participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend since PPMD established a team there in 2005. Since then, Team Michael James has raised more than $1 million for PPMD, inspiring others to join the fundraising program, PPMD said.

“Mike and Team Michael James are at the heart of our Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend team,” Nicole Herring, PPMD’s vice president of development and community engagement, said in a press release. “They have never wavered in their commitment to being part of this weekend, and have embraced countless new team members along the way, inspiring them to run, raise funds, and have fun while contributing to PPMD’s mission.”

Napoli’s Make Every Day Count Award was established in 2019 to commemorate the spirit of the late Danny Garofalo, a youth from Bound Brook, New Jersey, who had DMD and died at age 16. During his life, Garofalo “left an indelible mark” on those around him, the PPMD press release stated.

The award is presented annually to a Race to End Duchenne team member by Team Danny, a group of Garofalo’s family members and friends who raise funds with the ultimate goal of ending Duchenne. Over the last 18 years of participation in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Team Danny has raised more than $1 million, leading others to get involved.

As team captain, Napoli has played a pivotal role in Team Danny’s longevity and success, the PPMD said. Napoli was an integral part of the life of Garofalo, who was his nephew.

“Michael and his family have been at the core of our Race to End Duchenne team for 18 years,” Herring said. “They’re not just great fundraisers, they’re great people, who are clearly passionate about ending Duchenne. They continue to run in Danny’s memory while befriending and embracing every member of this community along the way.”

Awards presented at Disney

Both awards were presented at this year’s Walt Disney Marathon Weekend, which took place Jan. 3-7. Napoli received his award from surprise guest Jen Garofalo, Danny Garofalo’s mother.

The nonprofit PPMD works to advance research, care and advocacy in Duchenne.