By Megan Knight

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Parkinson’s disease is near and dear to Rico Vaca’s heart.

About ten or 12 years ago, his mother was diagnosed with the disorder. He admits he didn’t know much about it until his mother’s diagnosis, but he went in head-first to learn all he could.

“Ever since then, we’ve been trying to find a way to give back and find a cure,” Vaca said.

And it wasn’t just Vaca who wanted to do what he could for people, like his mom, who are living with Parkinson’s. His wife sits on the public policy board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, started by actor Michael J. Fox after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 1991.

And when Vaca opened MidiCi, The Neapolitan Pizza Company at the Avenue at White Marsh five months ago, he knew his restaurant could also be a vehicle for change.

“We have a business that has hundreds of people come through everyday and its a way to get the word out in our own little way,” he said.

From April 11-18, MidiCi is asking customers to add $1, $5, or $10 to their order. The donations will be given to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Baltimore chapter.

“We’re probably not going to change the world, but little by little, I think everyone can do a part,” Vaca said.

Vaca says its been a struggle for his mom since her Parkinson’s diagnosis but she’s still walking and talking. “She’s got a great outlook on life,” he said.

MidiCi in White Marsh is the first location to open in Maryland. Their pizza is Neapolitan-style, just like they would make it if you went to Naples, Italy. The dough has just four ingredients, Neapolitan flour, water, yeast and sea salt. Their beautiful brick ovens are straight from Italia too! The also have a number of delicious appetizers including meatballs, charcuterie plates and burrata with melon and prosciutto.