By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It is a disease that affects over 400,000 people in the U.S. and more than 18,000 in the Maryland-D.C. area.

Multiple Sclerosis attacks the central nervous system and can be debilitating.

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Ron Matz has more on a woman living with M.S. who’s become an inspiration to many.

Shelley Comittino was diagnosed with MS in 1989, shortly after giving birth to her daughter.

“Your arm raised up in the air,” says Shelley’s best friend, Jim Breakwell.

“I didn’t try to do it,” says Comittino.

That was the first symptom. Shelley remembers getting the diagnosis.

“It was hard, I was like wow, what can I do now, who will I be?” says Comittino.

She is Jim’s best friend, and he is hers. They’ve been living together for 25 years.

“She keeps me grounded and focused. She means the world to me,” says Breakwell.

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“You can let the disease have you or you can make sure that you have the disease. Shelley has her MS, she’s not going to let it have her,” he says.

The MS On The Move Fundraiser is later this month.

“We are making tremendous progress, because of the funds that we raise towards research,” says Chartese Berry, MS Society National President.

Breakwell’s van is adorned with symbols of his commitment to finding a cure for MS.

“We’ve got orange ribbons of hope, and six different sets of footprints on the side of the van for the six people that have walked with me the longest. I’ve been doing Challenge Walks 16 years now.

And as the years pass, Comittino and Breakwell are closer than ever.

“Oh man, I couldn’t get out,  I couldn’t be without him. He’s the one who gives me a purpose,” she says.

On The Move, the fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis will be held October 19 at the American Visionary Art Museum.

For ticket information CLICK HERE.

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