It was a pajama party for a good cause.
In December, Pietro’s Fight – a nonprofit co-founded by Dyker Heights parents Dayna and Manni Scarso in hopes of helping find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) – hosted its fourth annual PJs for PJ fundraiser, a community-wide pajama party that, this year, spanned both sides of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
“Turning a dress down day to a pajama day that’s fun for kids and faculty, while at the same time, educating them and raising funds to fund DMD potential treatments is unbelievable,” said Dayna, the mother of Pietro Scarso — a local boy with DMD, “and the unbelievable feeling is heightened during the holiday season, the season of giving, the season of believing.”
This year’s PJ party came at a crucial time for the foundation, Scarso said, as Pietro’s Fight has committed funding to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Therapeutics – DMD-813, a start-up biotech company that is developing proprietary therapeutics for DMD.
DMD-813 has already been shown to reduce damage and inflammation in muscle leading to markedly increased muscle strength and dramatically rescue muscle function and pathology. Further studies have documented significant increases in the ability of treated animals to ambulate long distances, which is important given that DMD boys become wheelchair bound due to loss of ambulation.
“We believe this can be a treatment that can change the lives of DMD boys,” Scarso said.
As of last year, Pietro, now eight, was receiving treatments with Exondys 51 (also known as Eteplirsen, the first drug ever approved to treat the disease).
Since its inception in 2012, Pietro’s Fight has raised more than $1 million towards finding a cure.
Schools that dressed down for Pietro included Stepping Stones Nursery School, Bay Ridge Prep, Fontbonne Hall Academy, Fort Hamilton High School and Holy Angels Catholic Academy, among others.
Up next for Pietro’s Fight is its sixth annual gala, Fight Night, coming up on Friday, March 16 at the El Caribe Country Club (5945 Strickland Avenue).
For more info on Pietro’s Fight, visit www.pietrosfight.org.