Since 2009, Mike Vitanza and his team have hosted a highly successful annual program called ROCK4RV, in memory of his brother Robert Vitanza, who died in 2008 of CJD.
Thanks to the talented musicians who donate their time and talents and others who generously donate, ROCK4RV has raised more than $180,000 for the CJD Foundation.
These funds have been applied to support the work the CJD Foundation does every day including responding to family questions and needs, providing family support and medical education programs nationwide, and supporting research to advance science and move closer to a cure. In 2015, Mike was inducted as the first member of the CJD Foundation Gold Star Hall of Fame, in recognition of his fundraising excellence.
ROCK4RV is an outstanding annual event that not only raises vital funds to support the work of the CJD Foundation, but also raises awareness of prion diseases like CJD. We commend Mike and his team for all they have achieved and for passionately driving toward a world without CJD!
I had the good fortune of growing up a couple of blocks from the Vitanzas and have shared a lifetime of good times and memories with the family. In 2008, however the family suffered a horrible tragedy when Bob Vitanza, the oldest of the three brothers, was diagnosed with and lost his life to Creutzfeldt Jacobs Disease (CJD).
When faced with tragedy, there are various responses; some tend to dissociate while others act. Mike Vitanza and his family chose action; and continue to do whatever they can for the CJD Foundation in its mission to support those affected by CJD and to hopefully find a cure!
Mike and I have been lifelong friends and I have been involved with ROCK4RV since 2009. I am proud to have been a part of something positive that honors Bob the right way – with celebration of all of the great things he accomplished as a son, brother, husband, friend and businessman while trying to make a difference for others affected by CJD. I am now an official ROCK4RV committee member and I am grateful for the funding and awareness this annual event has raised.
The ROCK4RV Concert Series is in its 9th year and it has been the highest grossing family fundraiser in the history of the CJD Foundation, which was founded in 1993. While a great accomplishment, we remain driven to build momentum and continue to grow this event. I am excited about what the future has in store!
Thank you to all of the friends and talented musicians that have supported this series over the years. I look forward to us taking this experience to the next level!
Paul Sirbono, Jr. - Committee Member, ROCK4RV
I can remember the day vividly some 9 years ago. I was heading to band practice on a Friday night. Just before leaving I called Bob at the hospital to get an update on his test results. He calmly delivered the diagnosis of this incurable rare brain disease called CJD. My friend and business partner of almost 30 years was gone 2 months later.
What was this horrible disease? How could this happen to someone so young and in good health? So many unanswered questions....what's next???
Bob loved listening to music and going to concerts. What better way to celebrate his life with a gathering of friends and family enjoying music. Through the dedication and leadership of his loving brother Mike Vitanza, the first annual CJD foundation fundraising benefit was established in 2009. Now, in it's 9th year, we pay tribute to Bob's life – one filled with love and generosity in both his personal and professional endeavors. It's been a joy and honor to join in with Mike and his Simple Jim band mates for a few songs each year. I know Bob is looking down with pride at the continued success of this annual event as fundraising goals for CJD research are achieved in his memory.
Thanks to all for supporting the cause!