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Rutgers dean to run nearly 50 miles for charity | Livingston Campus Assistant Dean of Students Jeffrey Broggi will run a combined 15 kilometers over two days to raise money for a student emergency fund and the Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy organization to assist members of the Rutgers community. – Photo by null

While many of the Rutgers faculty care greatly for their students, Jeffrey Broggi plans to take that dedication to a new level by running 48.6 miles to raise funds for two community causes.

Broggi, the assistant dean of Students for Livingston Campus will be running the Dopey Challenge – a 5K race, 10K race, half marathon and full marathon in consecutive days – in order to raise money for a student emergency fund and for the Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy organization.

“There are so many challenges that our students go through that we don’t have the ability to solve, fix or clean up for them because we just don’t have a fund to help students,” Broggi said.

He hopes to set up the fund for students who are successful inside of the classroom but face difficult and uncontrollable situations outside of the classroom. This includes students whose parents get laid off from work or have passed away, whose homes were lost in fires or whose parents refuse to support them due to their sexual orientation or religious choices.

“A few years ago, (Rutgers) created an emergency fund and right now, there’s nothing but $5,000 in it. You think about $5,000, that’s roughly a semester of housing for one student and we have a population of 48,000," Broggi said. "I’m trying to figure out a way to keep students who belong here and should be here but unfortunately can’t be here, remain.” 

Broggi is also raising money for a young boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he said.

“I also met a young man named Danny Garofalo, he has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We met because he is a tremendous Rutgers fan, he just loves the Rutgers football team, he loves everything about Rutgers, he’s 14 and he has been in a wheelchair since he was 10,” Broggi said.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a severe deteriorative muscular condition that causes muscles to develop incorrectly. It advances quicker than other forms of Muscular Dystrophy and has more severe symptoms,  according to the US National Library of Medicine. 

Broggi said most people do not realize that the heart is a muscle and that eventually, with deterioration and lack of growth, it will fail. The life expectancy of someone with Duchenne’s is 20 years.

“So what I want to do is bring all causes near and dear to my heart together and do everything I can to bring attention and to raise as much money as possible to research for a cure for Muscular Dystrophy and to cure the ails, challenges and financial issues that many of our students have to go through,” Broggi said.

To raise money for the causes, Broggi will host a spaghetti dinner on Dec. 11 in the Livingston Student Center. Proceeds from the dinner will be split between the two causes. The dinner will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and tickets are $10 a person. 

Broggi said he has been training for the Dopey Challenge since August. He was inspired by Garofalo’s aunt and uncle to start running three years ago.

“I want to run for (Garofalo) every day of my life, but there are other causes that are near and dear to my heart,” Broggi said. “So it was more of: I want to do everything I can for (Garofalo) but we have an audience here at Rutgers that has great need as well, and maybe we can combine efforts because of his love for Rutgers.”

Broggi said he does not run solely to improve his time. He runs to do something powerful and positive for the Duchenne community and his students.

He said he expects anywhere between 250 and 350 people to attend the spaghetti dinner on Sunday. Food will be donated to the event to assure all funds go directly to the causes. 

The marketing team at Rutgers is also putting together a video presentation for the spaghetti dinner that will feature students who have dealt with tough situations discussing how the emergency fund will be able to help people like themselves. It will also feature videos of Garofalo, Broggi said.

“The spaghetti dinner is only step one,” Broggi said. “I’m hopeful that we can get a great turnout and raise a good amount of money for each cause.”

Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum.

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