Local student raises more than $100,000 for uncle with ALS

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Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2014 --- 9:24 p.m.

You may remember when the disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, came to the forefront earlier this year with the Ice Bucket Challenge viral movement. While that movement may have slowed now, a new campaign is just beginning for one local student.

Edgewood College junior Nita Jonuzi is raising money for her 36-year-old uncle, Flamur Jonuzi of Waunakee, to get a developmental new treatment for ALS. In about a month, her campaign has raised more than $100,000.

"With someone that has two kids, a wife, and his parents living with him, he has to support so many people and just getting the news that you're going to die, that's not easy for anyone to take," Nita said.

The money raised will help fund the costs of stem-cell therapy for Flamur, who will begin the treatment in January at the Mayo Clinic.

According to an August statement from the ALS Association, stem cell research is "an evolving field that holds the potential to provide benefit to people with ALS in the future."

Despite doctors giving him a five-year life expectancy, Flamur remains in good spirits, Nita said. His good spirits inspire her.

"With someone that's doing so well and just taking things in stride, that just gives motivation to anyone to do better and help out," Nita said.

She hopes the treatment will delay her uncle's symptoms and prolong his life.

"I want my uncle to be able to see his two sons finishing college and being happy, because what else is there?" Nita said.

To visit her fundraising website, go to http://www.gofundme.com/flamurjonuzi.