SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A 7-year-old Savannah boy is in a fight for his life with a community rallying around him.
By all accounts, you can call Grayson Cronin your normal, everyday little boy. But what’s going on inside of him is anything but normal.
“He’s a fighter. He’s a fighter and he’s doing well,” said Grayson’s grandmother Leigh Griner.
Grayson has a genetic condition called Adrenoleukodystrophy or ALD. Simply put, the disease deteriorates the brain and could lead to eventual death.
“As the disease progresses, it attacks the brain, particularly the white matter of the brain. Depending on which area gets the worst attack those kids with ALD, a lot of them it attacks the part of the brain that deals with their eyesight, their hearing,” Griner said.
Right now, Grayson and his father are living full-time in Minnesota so he can have the medical care he needs. That includes a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
“We were so thankful. He’s got a new chance at life. Yes, we are very thankful and we do know we’ve turned a corner,” Griner told WSAV. “But also the doctors have made his parents and the rest of us very aware that this is the most dangerous part of the transplant coming.”
Grayson’s brother Nathan also has a form of the disease. A lingering stomach virus put Nathan Cronin in the hospital earlier this year, and that’s what led the family to find out both boys have ALD.
“If Nathan had not been very ill, been diagnosed at that time, Grayson probably would not have been diagnosed in time to receive this life-saving treatment. The time was ticking away quickly,” Griner said. “We kind of give Nathan credit for saving Grayson’s life.”
Nathan has become an advocate of sorts for his little brother as an older brother often does. It’s a strong brotherly bond that keeps the boys connected through one of their favorite video games while they’re hundreds of miles apart.
“On Roblox, we’re friends – me and Grayson. When we’re on the phone we can video chat and we can play Roblox together,” said Nathan Cronin.
Grayson’s medical costs and care are mounting. His church family is helping where they can and a GoFundMe has topped $26,000.
“It’s way more encouraging than we ever thought it would be. Also, it’s more needed than we thought we would need,” Griner told WSAV.
A little boy’s story is pulling at the heartstrings of so many now pushing them to pay it forward for someone they’re probably never met just because it’s the right thing to do.
“The support that we’ve received has changed our lives. We’ve all become more humble and more appreciative. We’ve learned that so many people love us that we didn’t even know remembered us,” Griner said.
As Grayson inches along a lengthy road to recovery, it’s a Bible verse that drives him and his family hanging on the wall at home.
“Your mantra can be like Grayson. Be strong and courageous do not be afraid. Grayson is a brave child and I think we could all learn from that. I’m definitely learning from it,” said Griner.
If you’re looking for a way to pay it forward, you can donate to help the family’s medical costs here. .