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Five-year-old boy starts "Marble 4 MS" to help cure his mother's disease


Christine VanTimmeren

When a parent is diagnosed with a possibly disabling disease, it can be difficult for children to understand and to cope. But the reaction of a five-year-old boy to his mother's illness is catching people's attention.

The Grossman family of Penfield is eight-year-old Jackson, five-year-old Connor and parents Michael and Annette. They are your typical family except for one thing. Five years ago, Annette was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Annette has a relatively severe case of MS. She deals with a lot of pain and fatigue day to day. Her biggest fear is ending up in a wheel chair. “I think I’m managing it as well as can be expected and having these guys with me makes it a whole lot easier.”

But explaining to two young children exactly what mom is going through can be tough. “I usually say I’m tired, or I’m having a bad MS day and they know that tired doesn't mean sleepy in my case. It means I really can't make it up the stairs one more time today.”

But instead of getting frustrated with his mom's condition, Connor took action. He decided he wasn't going to sit around and wait for others to help his mom he was going to.

It all started with marbles. “He came up with this idea of how to paint a picture with marbles. It turned out so well I said, ‘Wow you're quite the artist. You can make some money doing this.’”

It soon became Connor’s mission to sell these unique paintings, donating all the money to finding a cure for MS. He called the project Marbles 4 MS.

Marbles 4 MS has only been up and running for a month and a half now but Connor has already raised $300.