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James Raffone

James Raffone, the driving force behind JAR of Hope, is dedicated to eradicating Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a terminal muscle-wasting disease with no cure currently available. Following his son Jamesy’s diagnosis with DMD in 2013, Raffone founded JAR of Hope, aiming to increase awareness and fund research for this devastating disease.

JAR of Hope is renowned for its creative fundraising efforts, including unique events like record-breaking Lego builds and a Push-up Campaign that engaged over 217 gyms and 50 schools globally. Raffone’s own personal endeavors have been both inspiring and impactful; he is one of the few individuals from Staten Island and New Jersey to climb Mt. Everest. His commitment extends to grueling endurance challenges, such as participating in a 171-mile desert race multiple times and completing a 100-mile walk in Australia. For a decade, Raffone has also run in the NYC Marathon. He collaborated with CrimsonRise to amplify their fundraising, and mentored them to set up the CrimsonRise Waterfront 5k/1-mile Run Walk.

Raffone’s advocacy has achieved significant recognition, earning him three Keys to Cities and the opportunity to ring the closing bell at the NY Stock Exchange. His efforts have catalyzed legislative changes in New York, significantly increasing the Duchenne research budget by $2 million annually. Groundbreaking private studies and treatments, including his son being the first in the US to receive intravenous stem cells and explore HBOT for cardiac health, underscore the advancements in regenerative medicine driven by JAR of Hope.

James Raffone’s relentless pursuit to save his son and find a cure for DMD through JAR of Hope is a testament to his profound dedication and the global impact of his work.

Elinor Carlin

Elinor (Ellie) Carlin is a 94 and-a-half year old widow, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, and a native Staten Islander. She is mother to Lisa Morgan and grandmother to Lindsay Morgan, both CrimsonRise S2C Practitioners. 

Born and raised in Stapleton in Staten Island, Elinor attended P.S.41 from kindergarten to 8th grade, and then graduated from New Dorp High School. She passed her entrance test to go to Hunter College to be a teacher but there were no scholarships at that time, so she was unable to attend. Instead, she spent multiple hours each day in the library studying the encyclopedia and dictionary. Elinor worked at AT&T for 3 and ½ years and then became a stay at home mother to her 4 children at the age of 21. Other work she has done in her life has been volunteer work. Elinor is an avid reader of all types of books, a master at word searches and crossword puzzles, and a fabulous gardener. Even though it’s hard to garden with a cane, she holds the cane in one hand and the shovel in the other! She loves to sing and dance and considers herself an armchair dancer these days. You can always catch Elinor watching Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, and crazy cats! Or, you can find her shopping away in the Dollar Tree, Boscov’s, and Cracker Barrel. One of Elinor’s favorite memories is traveling all over Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband. 

Throughout her life, Elinor has volunteered at her children’s schools and various nursing homes, and was a pack mother for cub scouts. As a fierce animal lover, she fostered orphaned kittens till they were old enough to be adopted. Elinor is a former member of the Sweet Adelines International and sang at charitable events across the East Coast. Elinor supports over 30 organizations with financial contributions annually. She is a current member of the Eastern Star and raises money for different charities, one of which was for autism. Elinor has been honored by the Order of the Eastern Star for “Star of the Year” and honored by the Masonic Order for “Women of Distinction”. 

Elinor has been a stellar advocate for the rights of autistic people for over 20 years. She believes that every autistic person should have a chance to show the world what they can accomplish.

Tina Montalbano

I’m a Retired New York City Department of Education Teacher with a BS Degree and MS Degree in Education from Wagner College. In my spare time I enjoy going to the theater, concerts, crafting, jewelry making, traveling, decorating and spending time with family and friends.

Having taught  for 34 years in the system and feeling gratified and grateful as I watched my students grow and learn, I wished that for all of my grandchildren… especially my granddaughter, Sophia. I became an advocate for Sophia after learning about Spelling To Communicate. Hearing about this organization sent me on a mission to research it. Finding out that autistic children have a way to communicate and realizing that Sophia would be able to communicate her thoughts through a letterboard gave me hope and sent me on another mission. After discussing it with my son and daughter-in-law, I immediately became very anxious to get Sophia in the S2C Program. The ability to communicate is a human right and watching Sophia communicate by spelling on the letterboard, spelling out answers correctly and  spelling out open-ended answers to questions truly amazed us! Who knew that Sophia wants to go to Italy? Who knew that Sophia has a favorite color, Pink! And that she could spell Pink in English and Spanish!! Sophia had a session about Ancient Egyptians. One of the questions was an open ended question which asked, “what do you think about the Ancient Egyptians being buried with grooming supplies?”, and Sophia responded on the leaderboard,” I think it’s stupid”. Well, she certainly gave us her opinion about that! We are quickly realizing that Sophia has her own thoughts, and hopefully will soon make all of them known to us.

CrimsonRise has been a blessing to us and we are very proud of Sophia’s accomplishments with this organization and look forward to seeing her ability to progress even more. Thank you for this wonderful program.

Linda Mantia

Hello my name is Linda Mantia. I am the grandmother of Noah Rivera. I was born in NYC and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where I still reside.

Growing up I attended P.S. 102, then onto I.S. 259 for middle school and then graduated from Fort Hamilton High School in 1969, where I took a Commercial Course, which helped greatly for all my future jobs.

I worked for Sears buying office on W. 31 st Street in NYC. as Secretary to the Buyer of Women’s Coats and Jackets. When Sears moved to Chicago, I went to General Electric on Lexington avenue. I was Executive Secretary to the Locomotive Marketing Manager. My husband worked for N.Y. Telephone, and when I was pregnant with my first child I stopped working. I have two daughters Victoria and Danielle, I stayed at home to raise my daughters.

I returned to work in 2000 and have been working for the Department of Education as a in P.S. 209 in Sheepshead Bay since 2006. I am still working as Executive Secretary to the Principal, and am the Payroll Secretary as well.

I love painting and took lessons years ago at Kingsboro Community College. I love the beach, taking walks, and being outdoors. I enjoy quiet nights at home just relaxing.

My grandson Noah was born on, 2013, the same year that I was battling breast cancer. The thrill of having a grandson was overwhelming and helped get me through my year of chemotherapy and radiation and losing my hair. I continued to work through it all to try and keep myself busy, as opposed to staying home aiend feeling sick and depressed. Noah is my total joy. The light and love of my life, and will be so forever. His sister Juliette was born in  2016. She is also a shining light. She now understands that Noah is different, that he always will be and will not be able to play or communicate with her in the ways she wants.

Most of all, I am amazed at how my daughter Victoria juggles her life. She is a full time teacher, wife and mother. Her life is not easy or calm. Coming home from being with children all day, and then caring for her 2 children is having 2 full time jobs in one day. Her husband Philip is a Lieutenant with the Fire Department. He helps as much as possible, but is often on different shifts that require keeping different hours. I pray each day that Victoria has the strength to keep up with her grueling schedule. Her and Philip have tried many ways in which to help Noah.

I feel that Noah’s full potential has not been tapped yet. Somewhere inside of him is a boy that wants to speak and tell us how he is feeling, or where he wants to go and what he would like to eat, or not. We are hopeful that CrimsonRise can help reveal Noah’s potential and make him happy and proud of himself.