A few days ago, Rutgers football superfan and high school student Danny Garofalo Jr. sadly lost his lifetime battle with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The 16 year-old suffered from a genetic disorder that produces progressive muscle loss throughout the body. Here is a touching tribute to Danny from Cheryl Makin of the Bridgewater Courier News.
The article is a must read and details how Danny inspired his community, family and friends with his “Make Every Day Count” mantra. We are all passionate Rutgers fans, like Danny, but his story is a great reminder of how great the gift of life truly is. There is a bucket list mentioned in the article that Danny unfortunately could not complete, but the family is asking for people to help out and choose an activity to check off for him. The list was made into a card, that is pictured in the article, that was handed out at his funeral on Tuesday, in which players and head coach Chris Ash attended. Items include playing mini-golf, having a picnic on a beach, make snow cones, fishing, and finding a 4-leaf clover.
Danny attended every Rutgers football home game in the past 11 years and developed great relationships within the program. He was a regular around the team, attending practices and events as well. Rutgers posted tributes to Danny on social media on Tuesday, as his entire community honored his legacy left with red balloons all over Middlesex County.
Red balloons fly high outside of the Hale Center today for our forever Scarlet Knight, Danny Garofalo. He recently lost his battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. #MakeEveryDayCount pic.twitter.com/TYZnCBBuFQ— Rutgers Football (@RFootball) July 17, 2018
In addition to @RFootball Hale Center, red balloons are flying throughout Middlesex County in honor of Danny Garofalo. Tweet us any photos of red balloons in the community! #MakeEveryDayCount pic.twitter.com/s84Jn8THIa— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) July 17, 2018
In addition, Danny made an impact on the Middlesex High School community, where he attended and was to be a rising junior.
Today the Blue Jay community lost 1 of our own, Danny Garofalo. U will always be in our and . U are a true inspiration 2 your peers, your teachers & the admin. in the way u dealt w/ the beast of DMS & maintained such a positive disposition! We're all better 4 knowing you!— MHS Athletics (@GoJaysAthletics) July 13, 2018
Danny you will be missed. The @MHSMiddlesexNJ community would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Danny Garofalo. Please remember you are not alone during these tough times. https://t.co/HnhwWFa8Sx— Middlesex HS (@MHSMiddlesexNJ) July 13, 2018
There are plenty of personal messages from family and friends on social media as well. He will be missed by all, including at Rutgers football games.
For his obituary, click here. Within it are these requests from the family:
In lieu of flowers, Danny’s family strongly encourages sending a lasting memorial donation to any of the charities listed below; Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, 401 Hackensack Avenue, 9th Floor, Hackensack, NJ 07601 Attn: Team Danny 2019 (www.parentprojectmd.org/teamdanny2019, Steps Together (www.steps-together.org/donate) or Jack’s Kids (www.jackskids.org.)
Please visit www.MiddlesexFuneralHome.com to leave condolences on Danny’s interactive webpage.
Rest in peace, Danny Garofalo and thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.