For nearly nine years, Friends and Neighbors in Action has been assisting residents suffering from serious chronic and debilitating diseases.

FNA Facebook

Event director Rich Lancia said while there are many great New Jersey charities with a vast reach, this non-profit has a very specific initiative.

"FNA is more focused on the needs of people in the central New Jersey area," Lancia explained.

Lancia said they fund research, education and support programs to assist in finding cures and improving patient care and quality of life.

"To date, we've raised just over $300,000 for the various organizations that we've supported," he said.

Friends and Neighbors in Action partners up every year with different groups and causes through their signature 5k event.

This year's 8th Annual 5k Race and Fun Walk will be held on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 at Thompson Park in Monroe Township.

Proceeds from the event will benefit injured Monroe hockey player, Mikey Nichols and his family, along with Team LeGrand of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Nichols is rehabbing from a fractured C5 vertebrate he suffered during a January game. Mikey and his family continue to work through the incredibly long and difficult journey on his road to recovery.

Team LeGrand was established by Rutgers University football player, Eric LeGrand, who suffered a severe spinal injury in 2010. The team helps individuals and families dealing with a similar injury by supporting quality of life initiatives and emerging therapies.

Lancia said the two high-profile partnerships have raised the scope of this year's fundraising efforts, especially with the help of social media. FNA is hoping to raise between $40,000 to $50,000, with a turnout exceeding 300 people at the event.

Lancia said the goal is simply to "raise as much money as we can to pass that money off to both beneficiaries to help make their lives a little easier."

Learn more about this great Garden State charity and their upcoming event by visiting Friends and Neighbors in Action online, on Facebook and Twitter.