Going the distance!
Pietro’s Fight, a nonprofit co-founded by parents Dayna and Manni Scarso in hopes of helping find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) which afflicts their son Pietro, hosted Fight Night Round VI to raise money and awareness of the disease, a recessive X-lined form of muscular dystrophy that affects one in every 3,500 to 5,000 boys.
The annual event, held on Friday, March 16 at El Caribe Country Club, 5945 Strickland Avenue, is a fundraiser whose goal is to raise money for promising treatments.
“It was an excellent turnout. I think everyone had a great time,” Dayna said. “We raised a lot of money so they didn’t forget what we were there for. We are very lucky to have such an amazing community behind Pietro.”
Organizing such an elaborate event takes a toll, but ultimately Scarso finds it to be more than worth it.
“Every year I say this is going to be the last year,” she explained. “It takes away a lot of valuable time with my children. I really start this event in December planning, getting funds and getting attendees. Every year, after the event is successful and we raise money, I say how could I not do this? I’m very grateful.”
This year had a bit of a different vibe.
“We had a different crowd being that it was on a Friday this year,” she said. “There was less eating and more dancing. But everyone was there for one goal and that’s to find a cure for DMD and for Pietro. You could see everyone’s love for him.”
Money raised from the event went towards a pioneering treatment being developed by DMD Therapeutics, a startup biotech company, which, said Scarso, “Dramatically rescues muscle function in the standard animal model with DMD. It is demonstrating its potential to improve muscle health in patients with this devastating disease. It is important to us because, if successful, it will change course of this disease for the next generation of boys with DMD. Duchenne is not just a muscle disease, it is an emotional disease. It is an isolating disease.”
Awards were also distributed. Robert Scarpaci took the the Love Fighter Award, Willy Basso won the Cure Fighter Award, Linda Machado and Lindsey Nicastro of Horizons Dance Center were honored with the Love Fighter Award and Sara Steinweiss was named Pietro’s Fight’s First Ambassador.
Scarso was touched by all the support.
“When I started my speech at the beginning of the night, I said, ‘I look out into the room and see family and I mean it,'” she recalled. “There were so many people I wouldn’t have known seven years ago and now I couldn’t imagine our lives without them and that’s a beautiful thing, after all these years, to be able to have that support. I’m hoping at the end we find a cure and it’s all worth it.”
The highlight of the night in terms of entertainment was a performance by Grammy-nominated artist Deborah Cox. “Everyone said she was our best performance by far,” Scarso said.
As for Pietro, who turns nine in May, his mother said he is enjoying his time as a third grader.
“He’s doing well,” she said. “Thank God he’s still at status quo. He’s not declining. Hes doing great in school with a 96 average. He is a smart kid and his brother Niko is a perfect brother — he helps him, looks out for him.”
Sponsors for the event included: Bay Ridge Honda and the Sabbagh Family; Investors Bank; the Mastorakis Family; Empire State Bank; Ben Bay Realty; Team AG; Bubbles and Suds laundry; Jabour Realty; Life Quality Motor Sales; Empire City Labs; Floral Fantasy/Scarpaci; Play & Say Speech and Language Therapy; LCJ Electric; Rx KHumel; the Moniaros Family; Livan Savino; Truvium Financial Group; Sinemax; Marino; SR Entertainment; 5C and El Caribe.