by: Greg Suskin Updated:
TEGA CAY, S.C. - Four-year-old Conner Goldhammer sat in a tiny wheelchair inside a busy restaurant. One leg was wrapped in bandages while his mother was close at his side.
Conner was born with an extremely rare disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease.
In his young life, he's broken nearly 100 bones from something as simple as a sneeze or a cough.
It doesn't even take a hard fall to severely injure him.
His mother Denise said he even had broken bones in the womb.
"We just never know. We never know what's going to happen. We take it day-by-day," she said.
Last winter, Conner was in a chair at the dinner table and pushed away from the table to see his four older siblings. He fell and shattered his skull.
"We knew he had to have a chair to keep him safe so nothing like that ever happens again," his mother said.
On Friday, the Toast Cafe in Tega Cay hosted a fundraiser to buy the special chair for Conner.
The insurance company considered it a “convenience device” and wouldn't cover the cost for it.
Diners at the cafe donated their money and the restaurant chipped in 10 percent of sales to pay for the $3,900 chair. They were able to order it Friday.
During the fundraiser, a man wrote a check for $4,000. His son, now 38 and healthy, suffered the same disease as a child. Another donor gave $2,500 and a Matthews family who saw the story on Channel 9 gave $500.
It was overwhelming to the family who is grateful to people they'd never met.
A group called All Things Possible Ministries helped organize the event which raised more than $12,000.
They are hoping to raise a few thousand more for another purpose.
Melinda Horst is a home aide who spends 28 hours a week with Conner.
They need about $10,000 to extend her hours to 40 a week.
Friday's fundraiser almost got them there.
"This is great. Conner is just a trouper too. He keeps on going," Horst said.
Family members and friends said there are good days and rough days dealing with an illness like brittle bone disease.
There is no cure for the disease but the energetic Conner seems to be showing improvement.
"When he was born, they compared his bones to paper. At this point, they compare them to balsa wood," his mother said. "He's doing very well."
Please make a donation to Conner's Fundraiser online at http://www.atpmin.org/wordpress/fundraiser-for-conner/
All Things Possible Ministries is a nonprofit charity whose primary mission is implementing medical fundraisers for people with life-threatening health situations who don't have the means to pay their medical bills.
This story has received a lot of attention on WSOC-TV's Facebook page. More than 3,000 people have liked the posts and over 1,000 have shared it. Head over to Facebook and leave your comments.
Visit Conner's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/connerscare
To see more local news stories, click here.
Boy with rare disease sees community embrace his family
Boy found with dead chicken around his neck sues former foster mother
Teen charged in shooting death of Caldwell County man
7-year-old girl killed after Salisbury home sprayed with bullets, police say
Pair accused of assaulting Indian Trail Walmart greeter with stun gun