Annual 5k to fund DMD research in honor of local boy

Ridgeites will, once again, put their best foot forward in honor of six-year-old Pietro Scarso, a Bay Ridge boy fighting the good fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), when, on Saturday, September 19, they turn out for the Third Annual Pietro’s Fight to the Finish Line, a 5k benefiting Pietro’s Fight.

“We already have about 200 pre-registered applicants and we expect about 150 to 200 more the day of,” lauded Dayna Scarso, co-founder of Pietro’s Fight and loving mother to Pietro, a first-grader who was diagnosed with DMD – a recessive X-lined form of muscular dystrophy, affecting around one in 3,600 boys – at just three years old. “We’ve been off to a really great start.”

Pietro’s Fight was founded by Scarso and her husband Manni in 2012 and, since then, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a cure. Closer to home, the organization – and those of its kind – have helped to score children like Pietro a spot in a 96-week clinical trial of Eteplirsen, a drug whose initial favorable results in older boys led its creators to open the door for younger children with DMD, a fatal degenerative disease that weakens muscles at an aggressive pace.

Despite a rigorous schedule that has Pietro flying out to California once a week for treatment, Scarso says her little boy is all smiles, even if he just lost three baby teeth.

“He’s doing excellent,” she said, stressing that, soon, treatments will be coming to Philly. “He’s just so brave, so happy and always has a smile on his face. He’s really such a treat and I’m so lucky that he’s as good as he is.”

In the meantime, Pietro’s Fight is still rocking and rolling.

“We’re just so fortunate to have the support that we have,” said Scarso, thanking a long list of sponsors for this year’s Fight to the Finish Line, which include: Dana Ford Motors, Investors Bank, Bubbles and Suds laundromat, and Bay Ridge Windows and Doors, among others. “They are truly the backbone of Pietro’s Fight.”

The race will begin at 9 a.m. sharp for kids and 10 a.m. for adults at the 69th Street Pier. Registration is $40 per adult and $15 per children ages four and up. Entertainment will be provided by Menny Memories Entertainment in the form of music, face painting, costumed characters and more.

For more information or to sign up, visit

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