After losing her grandfather to ALS., a local 12-year-old girl is fighting back against the disease.
"It actually affects a lot of people," said Avery Niedrowski, of Exeter Township.
Niedrowski was just 4-years-old when her grandfather was diagnosed with the motor neuron disease, also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
"He had bulbar ALS, which originated in the mouth and then he wasn't able to speak… he started getting a lot slower," she said.
"It's a devastating and horrific disease. It tore us up," said Niedrowski 's mom, Lisa Wetherhold.
But now, the family is fighting back against ALS., a disease with no cure and few treatments.
"I was just thinking about him one day, and I thought 'How can I raise money for this cause so a bunch of other people don't have to lose their loves ones?' I thought, 'Why not raise money by not speaking for a day?'" said Niedrowski.
That was nearly three years ago. Today, the young girl's idea has inspired a nationwide campaign by Project ALS.
Titled "The Shutdown," the campaign is an online fundraising event scheduled for Sun., May 18. From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., pledges are encouraged to take a "vow of silence" to raise awareness for ALS. So far, the fundraiser has reached 85 percent of its $50,000 goal.
"It makes me very happy that people are getting involved in what I decided to do one day," said Niedrowski.
"My heart is filled with pride. It's overflowing with pride. It's a great way to honor my father," said Wetherhold. "She may have been young when she lost him, but to see the connection of her still honoring him, it's been unbelievable to be a part of."
Interested participants or donors can head to theshutdown.org for more information.