Former El Campo Ricebird football standout Jacob Harton has fallen on rough times. Harton who was an offensive linemen for the team that went to state in 2012 has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Harton since graduating from Southwestern University where he played football, has been an offensive line coach for the West Columbia Roughnecks, the Ricebirds district rival for the past four years. Harton had managed his MS and was coaching football this year. However, a fight with COVID-19 during the Christmas break sent him to the hospital and his symptoms started to progress

A friend of Harton’s, the West Columbia football coaching staff and former El Campo head coach Bob Gillis are trying to raise money to help the former Bird in the biggest tench battle of his life against MS.

“This is personal to me because you hate to see a young man (going) through this and he’s trying to get some treatment,” Gillis said. “The cost is going to be (around) $80,000. With (West Columbia’s) help and everyone else’s help, we’re trying to raise as much (money) to help him get treatment and have a chance to live his life.”

An online Go Fundme page dedicated to Harton has raised nearly $33,000 dollars from 237 different donors.

“The prayers and financial support has been amazing,” Harton said. “So many people from the El Campo area have reached out to me wishing me well on my recovery. A ton of guys from the state finalist team in 2012 I was part of have been in touch and really pulling me through all this. The saying is true, once a Ricebird always a Ricebird and I’ve seen it on a daily basis through all this from many people in the community.”

For more information and how to donate you can go to gofundme.com/f/jacob-harton-stem-cell-treatment-for-ms

Gillis added for those who don’t feel comfortable donating online they can send a check to the Jacob Harton Fund, 521 South 16th Street, West Columbia, 77486, with the attention line Brent Mascheck/Connie Ashley.

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