The current story-line of Robb Armstrong’s JumpStart is based on a real-life retired police officer who has been on a kidney transplant waiting list for 3 1/2 years.
Since April 12, the strip has focused on Joe’s “cop lifestyle” of eating fast fatty foods, working long hours and dealing with high stress. In the past few days, Joe and Marcy have discussed how that lifestyle can lead to diabetes and renal failure. In a subplot of the comic, Joe’s partner, Crunchy, has left the fictional world of JumpStart to give his brother, Stanley (also a police officer), a kidney because Stanley has diabetes.
Armstrong said he developed the story line after a phone call from Mike Mazzeo, a friend and longtime partner of Raggi’s in the narcotics unit of the Rochester Police Department.
Mazzeo, who is also the president of the Locust Club, the city police officer’s union, first met Armstrong last year during a dust-up over a strip by Armstrong depicting a police shooting. The strip ran about the same time two city officers were shot and some in the community criticized Armstrong and the newspaper for being insensitive.
Mazzeo disagreed and publicly came to Armstrong’s defense.
A bond was formed and the next time Mazzeo talked to Armstrong, he was asking him to help his friend, Raggi, and bring awareness to a problem many officers are concerned about.