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Ian Desmond raising money, awareness to fight neurofibromatosis

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stemming from his friendship with a 20-year-old afflicted with the disorder, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is helping raise money to benefit awareness and research for neurofibromatosis, a disorder referred to as NF that makes its victims highly susceptible to tumors.

For the month of May, which is NF Awareness Month, Desmond and the fan blog Nationals Archive started an Indiegogo charity site. In less than a week, they have blown past their initial goal of $10,000 and readjusted their sights to $20,000. Desmond has been giving away T-shirts and other prizes to donors.

The disorder is close to Desmond because of his friendship with Ethan Brown, a South Carolina native whom Desmond met and befriended through the Web site Unashamed Athletes in 2012. Brown was diagnosed with NF at 16. In March, Brown called Desmond “the big brother I never had.”

Even more than raising money, Desmond wants people to learn about the disorder. It affects one of every 3,000 people, with varying effects. It is genetic, and most often found in children or young adults. Desmond sees a disparity between the prevalence of the disorder and the amount of attention and research it receives, and he wants to help remedy that.

You can learn more and make a donation here.