People News

School, community rally to cure one of their own

1.8 from 4 votes
Sunday, June 01, 2008

Instead, Nick sometimes rides in the back seat of his sister`s car or sits in the front seat while a golf cart pulls along the car.

Nick, a fourth-grader at Norwood Elementary School in Dundalk, has juvenile Batten disease.

He still has some vision but is having trouble with his memory and behavior, his mother, Tina, said.

"We kind of take it day by day," she said. "The disease makes him forget, and he can`t remember things that he knows he knows."

Batten disease causes nerve cells throughout the brain and body to function improperly, resulting in a gradual loss of vision and physical and mental abilities, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Saturday marked the fourth year his school held a fundraiser walk and car show benefiting research for Batten disease, which has no cure.

"Walk with Nick" honors Nick, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.

"When Nick got here and we found out about his illness, it hit home," said Matt Berkey, Nick`s gym teacher, who runs the event.

To go along with the mile walk, Norwood teachers donated prizes for a student raffle, including gift cards, toys and a pizza-party lunch with a teacher.

The attention from the event used to scare Nick, but Berkey said he has warmed to the spotlight.

"Last year, he did a really good job," Tina Heuchan said. "He picked out a car with helicopters and army men all over it."

The top 30 cars at the fundraiser received awards by popular vote. Contestants voted on best classic car, engine and paint job.

Proceeds benefit the Batten Disease Support and Research Association.



Author: By Danielle Ulman
1.8 from 4 votes
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