MADISON, Wis. - As the Edgewood College baseball team swings into another season, one Eagle is working to raise money to help a friend whose family has battled Huntington's disease.
"I have a reason for why that made sense for me to put my time and effort into this," said junior outfielder Marc Ostrowski.
The story for Ostrowski, 20, begins with his childhood friend, Tim Layer, growing up outside of Chicago.
"Tim and I went to preschool together, and we have been friends a long time though school. Tim has the most positive outlook on field of any person I know," Ostrowski said.
Several years ago, Layer's dad died of Huntington's disease, a fatal, genetic brain disorder that leads to cognitive and physical decline. Layer's older brother has the disease, and Layer has a 50 percent chance of getting it as well.
"It's very under the radar and a lot of people just think, 'Oh, Lou Gehrig's disease,' and it is similar in the way it impacts the brain, but it's different," Ostrowski explained.
The marketing major decided to do something about it. With the help of friends in colleges across the country, he founded Camp Earth to raise money for research and awareness for Huntington's disease.
"Our slogan -- the whole big thing is finding a cure through adventure," Ostrowski said.
Camp Earth raised $10,000 in the summer of 2011. Some members even biked across the U.S. to raise money.
This year, with more than 20 members from seven schools, the hope is to raise more than $100,000.
"At my age, you feel bulletproof, and if I weren't here tomorrow, would I be happy with what I did up to this point?" Ostrowski said.18539346
The Edgewood baseball family has embraced Ostrowski's mission, helping with fundraising leading up to their home opener at the end of March.
"We talked about baseball being a game of failure and, well, that is life. You get knocked down and you get back up, or you choose to stay down, and this fits right in. This is them taking that and saying, 'I get knocked down, and I can help him back up. And we can keep going, and maybe I will hit a double out of this,'" said Edgewood College baseball head coach Al Brisack.
"If you ever are down in the dumps, you think how positive he (Layer) is and he's a good friend to have," Ostrowski said.
The Eagles' home opener is at 3 p.m. March 29 at Stampfl field in Verona. For more information and to donate, people can go to Camp Earth's website.