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A former University of Virginia baseball player is bringing awareness to a disease his mother has been battling for years. Washington Nationals player Ryan Zimmerman hosted a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis Friday night.

“This is a disease that needs to be defeated,” said Glenn Rust, who attended the fundraiser.

Zimmerman’s mother was diagnosed with the debilitating disease in 1995.

“It’s tough and it’s unfortunate when things like this happen,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman has since jump-started the ‘ziMS Foundation’ in hopes of finding better treatment for his mother and others with the disease. Friday night’s bowling fundraiser at the AMF bowling alley in Albemarle was just a glimpse into the foundation’s efforts.

“Whether it’s $1 or $1,000, whatever it is, all that helps,” said Zimmerman.

The foundation’s efforts aim to make a tough road, easier.

“It’s been an unfortunate journey but a good journey for us to kind of learn a lot about ourselves and other people,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman also offered a piece of advice for those dealing with the disease.

“The most important message is that there’s people out there to help you,” said Zimmerman.

People like Dr. Myla Goldman, director of the James Q. Miller MS Clinic, are doing their part to help. Goldman and the clinic have been crucial in helping with MS research.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in how to treat the disease but there’s still a lot of important work to be done,” said Goldman.

All proceeds from Friday’s fundraiser will go to UVA for continued research.