Bellmawr, NJ boy holds lemonade stand for his birthday to help fight rare FOP disease

BELLMAWR, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A young South Jersey boy has one wish for his birthday this year, and that is to help raise money for those living with a rare disease.

Nine-year-old AJ Gonzales of Bellmawr, New Jersey has FOP, which is short for Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva.

According to the International Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva Association (IFOPA), FOP is one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine, and it causes bone to form in muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues. The genetic disease affects one in two million people.

When AJ's parents asked him what he wanted to do for his ninth birthday this year, he said he wanted to have a lemonade stand to raise money for FOP "because he's tired of feeling the way he does."

So that is exactly what they did.

AJ and his family set up a lemonade stand at the community center in Bellmawr on Sunday, and invited the whole town to come out and support his cause.

Not long after opening the stand, the community center filled with residents, including the town's football team and police department, who were ready to purchase some lemonade and baked goods.

The proceeds from the lemonade stand will go to the IFOPA to fund research and help find a cure for FOP, as well as support the families who have a loved one living with FOP.

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