Monmouth County Students Chase World Lego Record In Honor Of Terminally Ill Classmate

MANALAPAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two Monmouth County schools set out on Tuesday, to crush the world record for the longest Lego chain.

Their ultimate goal was to raise awareness about a classmate’s terminal illness.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, students, teachers, and parents from Team Jamesy took up competitive Lego building for the day.

The team was named for 7-year-old James Raffone.

You wouldn’t know by looking at him, but ‘Jamesy’ as he is known to family and friends was diagnosed with a deadly form of muscular dystrophy called Duchenne.

“It’s been around for 184 years, but does not have a cure yet. There is nothing that can slow this disease down from putting my son in a wheelchair by age twelve and making him a quadriplegic by 15,” Jim Raffone said, “Unfortunately by his early 20s he will pass from cardiac arrest.”

Playing with Legos is one of the few activities Jamesy can do safely — it’s his favorite thing to do.

A temporary team made up of mostly students at Jamesy’s school; Clark Mills, and its sister school; Milford Brook had the goal of raising awareness for his illness by working with his parents’ foundation ‘Jar of Hope.’

They’re trying to break a Lego building record.

They turned 200,000 donated Legos into rectangular links of 20 Legos a piece.

“At first it was hard to get the hang of it, but then it started getting really easy,” Gabriella Herbert said.

The students were trying to break two records. First they tried to assemble 10,000 Lego links in less than 8 hours — by their count they did it in 3. Then they had to assemble those links and create the world’s largest Lego link chain.

Jamesy’s mother said breaking the record is important to her.

“Should something happen to my son, I’d like it to go in the history books that he was here and he made a difference. He was here and he made a mark with something he loved to do,” she said.

That’s why fellow students said they were glad to pitch in.

“I feel happy because our school is helping people,” Michael Wilson said.

“Every day I fear that someone could die from some sort of sickness and I don’t want that to happen,” Kelsey Kauffeld added.

At nearly 3,000 feet long, the chain is expected to set a record.

Ultimately they hope the accomplishment will bring in donors to fund research and find a cure.

 

 

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