VARDEN—On Saturday, July 13, Western Wayne high schooler, Nicholas Gombita held a fundraising awareness walk for multiple sclerosis (MS) which drew roughly 80 participants and raised $4,000 for research.

Participants walked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Western Wayne High School. The event featured food and water, basket raffles and other fundraising endeavors.

Organized as part of his senior project, Gombita's effort received wider recognition from the Wayne County Commissioners, last Thursday.

“MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States and nearly 2.3 million people worldwide,” Gombita said, Thursday. “Most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Currently there are medications available to help control the symptoms, but there aren't any cures for MS today.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is yet unknown what causes MS.

The disease affects the brain and spinal cord and can be debilitating from permanent nerve damage resulting from one's immune system eating away at the protective sheath covering nerve fibers.

The symptoms often differ greatly between those affected but frequently affect movement via numbness in one or more limbs, electric-shock sensations in the neck, and a tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait.

MS can also cause vision problems, slurred speech, fatigue, dizziness, tingling or pain in the body, and problems with certain body functions.

“It affects so many families,” Gombita continued, “and it doesn't affect them just physically, but it affects them emotionally and mentally in so many ways.”

More than just a project, Gombita noted he was motivated to hold the walk from his personal experiences with a family member who suffers from MS.

“It's important personally because, my mother...has MS,” Gombita explained. “She obviously means so much to me. She does everything for me. Basically, the reason I did this is because...there's so many people like her that have a hard time doing things...It needs awareness.”

The proceeds Gombita raised with his awareness walk will benefit the MS Society in Philadelphia.

“I really just appreciate everything that everyone has done and everything that everyone has donated...,” said Gombita. “Hopefully someday there will be a cure for MS, because we really need one.”

The Commissioners commended Gombita for his efforts.

Chairman Brian Smith noted his fundraiser was “an awesome project.”

Commissioners Wendell Kay and Joseph Adams each attended the walk on July 13.

Kay stated the event is, “... a good reminder to people like ourselves who sometimes can get caught up in our daily work, our daily responsibilities...so we don't always pay attention to causes like MS until a person like yourself comes along.”

Adams added “I want to applaud you for your enthusiasm and your energy putting it all together...It was awesome. It was uplifting. It was a very, very heartwarming, positive event.”