EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 12, 2013

Off the sidelines, on to the field

HAVERHILL — Ten-year-old Jake Marrazzo has been on the sidelines of sporting events, watching but not participating. The Duchenne muscular dystrophy he was diagnosed with just days before his eighth birthday makes walking a challenge and prevents him from playing in sports like other kids can. But not this weekend.

Jake, who lives in Hudson, Mass., with his family, is coming to Kimball Farm on East Broadway. His parents, John and Sheryl Marrazzo say he is eager to compete in the 5K Foam Fest taking place there this weekend. The family-friendly event features a course dotted with various inflatable obstacles along with foam, mud and water. John Marrazzo says his son will run as far as his legs will carry him, while he and his wife hold his hands, and when Jake can’t go any further he’ll carry him on his back until they reach the finish line.

“We contacted the organization, explained Jake’s situation and that we were going to run with him as much as he can, then piggy-back him the rest of the way to allow Jake to feel a sense of accomplishment that most kids with DMD cannot feel,” John Marrazzo said. “I actually offered to push Jake in a wheelchair for the race, but he wants to run with our help.”

The 5K Foam Fest is a two-day event with Jake Marrazzo, his parents and his older sister competing on Sunday morning.

“Jake can’t participate in sports and is always on the sidelines watching,” his father said. “Getting a T-shirt from this event will make him feel really good about doing something he typically could not do.”

According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder characterized by rapidly progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy and primarily affects boys, but in rare cases it can affect girls.

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