Instead, Cioffoletti will be running – with the goal of covering 60 miles between 10 a.m. New Year’s Eve and 10 a.m. New Year’s Day.
Cioffoletti, the CIO of Royal Sovereign Bullion Group, is one of relative handful of people who will be participating in the Peanut Island 24, an “ultra-marathon” that will take place in Palm Beach County, Fla. starting Dec. 31.
He’ll be running to raise money to cover medical treatment and expenses for Justin Condoluci, a 12-year-old Brielle resident who has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia since the age of eight.
Diagnosed in April of 2007, Justin underwent more than three years of treatment, first at Monmouth Medical Center and then at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
In June of 2010, he was given a clean bill of health, but last December, just before Christmas, he experienced a relapse.
“He’s been in treatment since last Christmas Day,” said his mother, Amy Condoluci.
Amy and her husband Ralph, have four children – Justin, Carter and Annie, who are triplets about to celebrate their 13th birthday on Saturday, and Lydia, 17, a senior at Manasquan High School.
It has been a challenging five years for the family, but they have remained strong both individually and together.
“We all have to do what we have to do,” says Amy. “There’s no complaining.”
It’s an attitude they have in common with Cioffoletti, who connected with the Condoluci family after a chance meeting on an airplane a few years ago.
“He’s good friends with our caseworker,” Amy said.
A former board member of the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care in Boston, Cioffoletti was inspired to do all he could to help children suffering from serious illnesses after visiting the pediatric wards at New England Medical Center.
“Visiting with those children definitely left an everlasting impact on me,” he said.
He was flying on business when he happened to start chatting with a seatmate, Isola Fixx, who is a volunteer with the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation of New Jersey.
Impressed with the organization, Cioffoletti offered to help and Fixx was soon asked if he would buy Christmas gifts for children the organization was helping. He immediately said yes.
Justin’s name was among those on the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation gift list, and when he learned that Justin shares his passion for baseball Cioffoletti decided he would buy him a bat and ball.
But when he heard that Justin was fighting a relapse and facing another grueling series of treatments at CHOP, he wanted to do more.
“I thought, ‘there’s a bigger calling here,’ he said.
He decided to do a fundraiser for Justin and his family.
The financial toll on the family as they battle Justin’s illness has been great. “People think, oh, you have health insurance,” Amy Condoluci said. “Well, we do, but the deductible is $10,000 per year, and this has been going on for five years.”
Commuting costs between Philadelphia and their home in Brielle have also mounted. “It’s definitely added up,” said Amy.
She had returned to work for a marketing and event planning business just before Justin’s diagnosis, but wasn’t able to continue working once Justin started treatment. Her husband, Ralph, who handles computer technology for an analytical firm, has been able to balance his work responsibilities and care for Justin with the help of an understanding employer.
Justin’s relapse last December was a hard blow for the family. “I found myself in Target on Dec. 22 just wandering the aisles in search of gifts for the kids.”
It was then that she received a call from Fixx, who told her stop wandering those aisles; that the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation would make sure that Christmas came for the family.
And this year, with Christmas approaching again, Fixx mentioned Justin to her friend Cioffoletti in September.
A precious metals dealer and former Red Bank resident, Cioffoletti is also the father of two children: Isabella, 14, and Dante, 11.
Aware of his own good fortune, he determined that he had an obligation to help someone else.
A former Iron Man Athlete who competed in the Clydesdale Division – “I’m a big guy,” he says – Cioffoletti decided early last year that he would run the Boston marathon for the Neely Foundation. Never a runner, he hired nationally known trainer Stu Mittleman to help him build the endurance necessary to do it.
In April, he successfully ran the marathon.
It’s an example of his commitment to “live and lead an extraordinary life,” says Cioffoletti. “We’re all capable of doing extraordinary things. It all comes down to believing that everything in life is possible.”
A former marathon runner herself – Amy completed the 2003 and 2004 NJ Marathons – she couldn’t believe the challenge Cioffoletti was undertaking for her son. “I know how hard it is to run for five and a half hours,” she said.
But the family is also engaged in their own hard race – a race to bring Justin back to health.
Cioffoletti’s goal is to raise $25,000 through his ultra marathon fundraiser, with one hundred percent of all donations going to the Condaluci family
“I think there’s no better way to bring in the New Year than doing something for somebody else,” Cioffoletti said.
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