WELLS (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- When you join the Wells Wrestling Team, you're joining a family. The team realized that this season when their coach sent them out to get pledge donation to help a former wrester.

Scott Lewia has been head coach of the team for 12 years and was assistant coach for 22 years before that. He's seen a lot of kids come through the program, including Nate Smith who wrestled from 1996-2000. When Lewia heard that Smith's son, Spencer, had been diagnosed with a rare disease known as Sanfilippo syndrome, it hit hard.

" I didn't know anything about it until then," said Lewia holding back tears. "Yeah I kind of got choked up."

Spencer Smith
Spencer Smith

Sanfilippo is often referred to as childhood Alzheimer's. It takes kid's memories, their ability to walk and talk. Worst of all, the incurable disease has a life expectancy of about 15 years.

"Eventually have trouble eating, they may experience seizures and ultimately sometime in their teenage years these kids typically pass away," saith Smith.

Lewia shared Spencer's story with the wrestling team and it didn't take them long to decide to do something to help. The boys went out into their communities to get pledges of donations for every win they fight for this season. Senior Ryan Norton get's $10.15 for his wins. Money that will go towards the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation to helps kids like Spencer.

Ryan Norton wrestling.
Ryan Norton wrestling.

"Wrestling is a really rewarding sport and when you know that you have something like raising money behind it, it makes it that much more powerful," said Norton.

Spencer isn't old enough to understand his disease, or what it means for a group of high schoolers helping to find a cure. His parents are well aware of how special it is and have gotten the chance to say thank you in person.

"It's just amazing that they are using Spencer and his diagnoses as motivation for the team," said Smith.

If you'd like to donate to help Spencer and his family find a cure, go to mypalspencer.com.