Mark Chauppetta: For the Love of His Kids
A man of many talents inspires those with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy to focus on ability, not disability.
Every so often, a man is born with a spark that can’t be taught. Mark Chauppetta, 50, is one man who is helping to change the world’s perception of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) while making a name for himself in a variety of professions.
He’s been a private investigator, an MMA fighter, a corrections officer, and a filmmaker. This February, he sat awe-struck in a crowded auditorium at the debut of the second rendition of his movie, A Father’s Fight. A decade in the making, the film details his life and fight to bring awareness to a disease that is inflicting considerable damage on his twin sons. For a man with many career pursuits, he has found his true calling by helping his sons and others face down this terrible disease. Powered by the love of his children, this film is a man’s work toward bringing dignity and joy to those afflicted with DMD.
Chauppetta is a private investigator who runs his own agency in Brockton, Massachusetts. He has quite an intriguing and unconventional personality and loves dabbling in a variety of activities — bare-knuckle boxing used to be one of them. He also used to manage a hip-hop band, was a talk radio host, former model, actor, author, and reality tv personality.
William and Elizabeth Chauppetta, who adopted Mark and his two older sisters Mary and Susan at young ages, quickly became used to their son’s artistic creativity after he left a job as a correctional officer at MCI-Bridgewater in Massachusetts, to pack his bags for California at the tender age of 21, where he hoped to become a movie star. “After a year of struggling and going to audition after audition and serving wheatgrass and veggie burgers, I took a job as a P.I. in LA and the rest is history,” he says. A couple of years after his Hollywood experience, Chauppetta returned home to start a new career as a modern-day Sam Spade. Despite his parent’s initial skepticism, his career was destined to flourish.
The Colorful Journey
Chauppetta was building a reputation as one of the top private investigators in his state when, in 2004, he unsuccessfully ran for state representative for the 10th Plymouth District. He told us he took a risk with this for one reason and one reason only, the kids with Duchenne MD. He wanted to make a difference and use the power and the position to advocate more.
Not one for suits and policy Mark decided to hit the streets again, so after his loss, he reinvented his business and launched a brand-new investigation firm and his signature brand On the Mark. He has been a private investigator for over three decades and continues to show up at the office daily at 6:00 AM. A notable former client is the Church of Scientology where he conducted surveillance and other duties. Currently he is the lead investigator on a high-profile case “Murder on the Cape.” Mark also conducts over 300 criminal defense investigations a year, along with the occasional cheating spouse case. He also brags about how he has pulled trash all over the world, looking for intelligence on suspicious clients. For ten years, Chauppetta hosted his own talk show, the On the Mark Show, on the now defunct Brockton-based radio station WXBR-AM. In the show, he talked about P.I. themes, interviewed celebrities, while displaying his colorful personality.
Since 2004, Chauppetta fields many phone calls from television producers who are looking to create PI reality-based shows. In 2016 he co-starred in A United States of Conspiracy that was commissioned on The History Channel but it was eventually canned before airing. Chauppetta says that “These are the breaks in television, although if you throw enough shit against the wall, something will eventually stick”
In 2018 he was cast on the A&E hit show 60 Days In but he never made it on an episode. Chauppetta told us to watch his film A Father’s Fight to see why he didn’t make it on the show. Chauppetta has a flair for the camera and feels that if he makes it on a national television show, it could possibly direct more attention to his cause.
A Powerful Purpose
Mark has four children from two past relationships. Two of his sons, the twins Andrew and Troy, were diagnosed at a young age with the rare condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). This is an incurable and highly degenerative muscle wasting disease. The day his sons were diagnosed, he slipped into a deep depression but fought through it, and used the negative energy in a positive way to help give back. Chauppetta says there was a family history on the twins mothers side, “I had no clue how to investigate it. I was young and dumb, but I would not change my life for anything” He is convinced that he has a bigger purpose, and that is to kick the this shit out of this disease.
In his film, A Father’s Fight, life with DMD is portrayed from a different angle. He didn’t want to use the medium to garner sympathy or pity. While DMD is terminal, the movie depicts the life lived, not life stolen. It is about the silver lining, one that an individual makes.
“It shows my sons driving and living life and going to the mall and fighting and bickering with me — being a family,”. “It shows the concern my wife has for me, coping with this disease. It’s very raw, it’s very honest, it’s very real.”
The film also features some recognizable faces like Patrick Renna “You’re Killing Me Smalls” from the classic film The Sandlot and Lenny Clarke, a nationally known comic and character actor. Joe Lauzon a current UFC Fighter is also interviewed as Mark’s trainer. Mark still trains often for the stress relief and, in the documentary, Mark is considering a return to the cage at 50 years old.
Putting Smiles on Faces
Chauppetta has embarked on the most important mission of his life. He is heavily involved as the executive director of the Wheelchair Strong Foundation which he formed in 2016. His 24 years old daughter Elizabeth is the President, Troy and Andrew built the website and do all the graphic art work, and his youngest son Max (who is 13) also pitches in. His wife Janice is on the board. “So as you can see, it’s a family effort,” he says.
The foundation engages in events that are positive and fun “about laughter and living and not pulling on the heart strings.” Some of their activities in raising awareness include comedy shows, pig roasts, 80s nights, and viewing movies.
His twins focus on all the positive, constructive things they can do. They shared their thoughts on their dad and their condition with Enterprise News:
“He helps inspire us,” says Andrew. “He motivates us to be strong, and to do what we want to do. He doesn’t stop us because we’re disabled.”
“But my disability motivates me to continue doing things like play sports, and drive a van with hand controls,” Troy says. “
With positive attitudes and a willingness to fight for a noble cause, the Chauppetta family continues to advocate for, and give back to the DMD community. The twins say in the film “We like to own our own things, and we never will give up.” To learn more about the foundation please visit www.wheelchairstrong.com. If you would like to watch A Father’s Fight it is now available on Amazon Prime.