After living with multiple sclerosis for 16 years, one woman decided to take action and stand up and fight back against the disease, recently opening a shop in St. James to benefit MS research.
The unique boutique, MS CUREiosity’s Closet, located on Lake Avenue in St. James opened on May 15, offering a variety of donated clothes, accessories and hope to people affected by multiple sclerosis.
The small shop, run and owned by Filomena Lombardi of Long Island's Villa Lombardi family, offers part donated goods, in which 100 percent of the proceeds go to MS research, and part consigned goods, which 60 percent goes to MS. Her shop has one goal: to raise money towards MS research being done by the Cure MS Foundation of NY, which operates the store.
“It prompted me to start this foundation, to raise awareness, show alternative treatments and show that you can live with MS,” said Lombardi.
The foundation was created by Lombardi in early 2011 to provide the Stony Brook Neuroscience department with proper funding to start a study on people with acute cases of MS using a natural treatment path called Hyperbaric Medical Solutions. Lombardi has had MS for 16 years now and she, herself, has been using this natural treatment for 10 years.
Along with the help of the Cure MS Foundation of NY and the Stony Brook Neuroscience department, Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society also does a huge part to serve Long Islanders who are affected by MS. According to President and CEO of the LI chapter, Pam Mastrota, the society provides over 60 programs to local communities while funding research.
“Although our organizations don’t collaborate at this time, we are happy to support organizations that want to do something about multiple sclerosis now,” explained Mastrota. “We are all soldiers on the front line fighting this disease.”
Since opening shop a few months ago, Lombardi said that they brought $4,500 into the foundation and overall have brought in $210,000 from their events and donations since first created. She believes that if they can continue to bring in that much, it can really help make a difference.
According to Lombardi, MS CUREiosity’s Closet sees a good amount of business and although they mainly receive customers from word of mouth, there is a steady flow of regular customers already.
“I’m always amazed at people who come in and say, ‘so and so told me about this place and said I should come in,’” said Lombardi.
While the clothes are donated and consigned, they are all gently worn and still of good quality. Lombardi said that people, along with herself, are always coming in giving donations, so the merchandise is always changing.
“The main goal of the store and foundation is to create a recognized treatment that can help a lot more people,” said Lombardi. “It’s the best feeling helping other people get healthy and stay healthy all safely.”