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Team aims to change lives with spare change

Although those extra pennies around the dorm and under the sofa cushions may not amount to much on their own, the volleyball team is putting them to good use.

Pennies for Points, the team's new fundraiser, asks fans to pledge a penny or more for every point scored in any of its 22 ACC games. All proceeds will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which funds research and provides services to people with MS.

Volleyball team member Shelley Capito, a senior, said the team came together to raise money for MS research because the issue hits home for team member Carrie DeMange, a senior, whose mother was diagnosed with MS more than 20 years ago.

"No one is directly affected as close as Carrie, but it was a team decision to support the [National Multiple Sclerosis] Society over any other society," she said. "It was just the most obvious place. Mrs. DeMange is everywhere in our lives-she organizes activities and has even planned Thanksgiving meals for the team, so she's a prevalent force and we all know her pretty well."

DeMange said her mother still comes to many of the volleyball games even though she is wheelchair-bound, and added that and she is excited to be raising money for a good cause.

"I think it's a really cool idea," she said. "It really hits the heart a lot, the fact that my mom has been dealing with it for over 20 years now. It's cool to be able to play and be helping a good cause at the same time. It's what I love doing-helping my mom and whoever is dealing with multiple sclerosis as well."

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with MS. Although there are treatment options for people living with MS, there is currently no cure.

Last year, the team scored approximately 3,000 points in the preseason and regular season, head coach Jolene Nagel said. She added that there is no estimate for how much the volleyball team hopes to raise through Pennies for Points because this is the first fundraiser of its kind. Based on last year's statistics, however, the amount could easily surpass $4,000, Nagel said.

"Since this is the first time that we've done something like this, it's difficult to know," she said. "I would never want to put a limit on how much money we can raise because I hope we raise as much as we can."

Every player is encouraged to get at least 10 sponsors, but Capito said the primary purpose of Pennies for Points is to provide as much support as possible for those suffering from MS.

"I hope we make enough to make a difference," she said. "Honestly, any money will help. But I want us to be able to make a difference in not only Mrs. DeMange's life, but also in anyone's who has MS."

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