Being an only child, I get a kick out of how siblings interact. Growing up, I’d observe my friends dishing out torment and wet willies to their brothers and sisters and was amazed by how much abuse they could get away with! It was always a strange dynamic.
Now I am a mother of siblings — Colton and Katrice — I see the daily bickering, tattling and yes, sabotage. But another thing I see is the love and respect they have for one another.
I recently had the pleasure to speak with Lorraine Manson who lives in Island Lakes, and was delighted to hear the story of her daughter Jenna who wants to make a difference in her brother Ethan’s life. In September 2013, Jenna, 11, got the idea to raise funds for Cure CMD (congenital muscular dystrophy), as her brother Ethan, now six, lives with congenital myopathy.
On a random Sunday afternoon, Jenna had some friends over and they decided they were going to draw pictures but with a twist. They were going to sell these paintings to raise money for Ethan’s condition and Cure CMD.
Living with this disease, Ethan isn’t able to do a lot of things most six-year-olds love, such as hockey, which makes him sad and frustrated.
The Manson family doesn’t have an actual diagnosis for his congenital muscle disease, although Ethan has had every test to try and clarify the condition. They hope to get more answers one day on how this type of congenital myopathy will affect him as he continues to grow and develop.
In no time, the girls amassed a complete collection of first-class art work that managed to fill up an entire wall!
Lorraine was very impressed by the girls’ initiative, took a picture of their work, and posted it on her personal Facebook page. Requests from friends and acquaintances flooded in.
The Mansons wanted to take the initiative one step further and, with the help of Cure CMD (www.curecmd.orgwww.facebook.com/CureCMD) they set up a fundraising page through Crowdrise.com
Word travelled fast, and they were bombarded with donations and requests for the beautiful, one-of-a-kind artwork available for sale. When a request came in Jenna made sure the purchaser got the option to pick a specific picture. After the fact, Jenna personally sent out a ‘thank you’ email to the purchaser, and her parents helped her mail out the pictures.
The paintings are 8 ½ x 11 inches and come with a white border cardboard frame. In total, Jenna’s pictures have raised $3,220 for Cure CMD.
It’s inspirational that a sister can be touched by her brother’s condition and think to herself "I have to do something to help."
More people need to look at Jenna Manson and know that the longest distances start with one small step to making a difference.
For further information, please check out Jenna’s paintings and fundraising efforts at https://www.crowdrise.com/artgalleryformybrother
Jasmine van Gerwen is a community correspondent for Island Lakes. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org