Runners, young and old, hit the pavement on Saturday, September 19 at the Third Annual Pietro’s Fight to the Finish Line – a 5k benefiting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) research via Bay Ridge-based organization Pietro’s Fight.
“It was a beautiful day,” said Ridgeite 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.
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.
As always, the event kicked off at the 69th Street Veterans Memorial Pier just past 9 a.m.
“Pietro was truly an inspiration to everybody,” lauded Scarso noting that while, in the past, Pietro has been able to participate by sitting atop his mother’s shoulders, this year, her boy hit the ground running on his own two feet.
“This year, he ran by himself,” Scarso said, “and it was just absolutely amazing.”
According to Scarso, Pietro – now six years old – alternated running and walking alongside friends and family (with the helping hand of his Godmother, Pam) for the entire length of the 5k.
“It really pushed the other runners to finish,” his mother went on, naming Matthew Acquista of CKO Bay Ridge as the first male runner to finish the race and Maria Manning – or, “Mama Maria” to Pietro – as the first woman.
“Pietro’s strides were effortless,” Scarso said, sending love and gratitude not only to the runners, but also to those who have helped make Pietro’s Fight to the Finish Line the successful event it is today.
“We could not do this without the support of this community,” she said.
This year’s sponsors included: Dana Ford Motors, Investors Bank, Bubbles and Suds laundromat, and Bay Ridge Windows and Doors, among others
For more information on Pietro’s Fight, visit www.pietrosfight.org.