COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Jaren and Michael McChesney have less than a month to raise $50,000. Through their non-profit organization, LandOnACure, they are self-funding medical research for their son Landon’s genetic disorder that is so rare it doesn’t even have a specific name.
Quick, creative thinking in the form of an ESPN “College GameDay” sign at the Ohio State Michigan game this past weekend gave the Upper Arlington family a jump start on their funding, and they’re hoping to carry that momentum into Giving Tuesday.
The McChesneys say the research will help not just Landon, but others around the world with a TBCD gene mutation.
“There’s a little boy named Leo in the UK, and his mom is struggling to raise the money for the same research,” Jaren McChesney said. “So if we can get Landon’s samples in and get this mutation studied, that can help Leo and then, this can help all of the kids affected with this. And not only this, maybe we could start a bigger scope and springboard to other genetic disorders.”
Landon is the oldest of the McChesneys’ four children. He is 5 years old. He cannot walk or talk, but his smile alone, seen by millions on ESPN’s College GameDay outside the Ohio State/Michigan game, inspired the best of the human spirit.
“[Michael] parked on some very kind University of Michigan students’ lawn, and offered them $20 to make it to in front of cameras just in the nick of time,” Jaren McChesney explained.
“And the crowd was really cool. They were supportive. There were thousands of people there, and they kind of ushered me to the front after I was talking to some people,” Michael McChesney elaborated about his trip to Ann Arbor. “Then, I couldn’t really see where the sign was… and these college kids were just saying, ‘Move it left! Move it right! Move by [Kirk] Herbstreit’s head!’ It was just such a cool thing and it happened so quick.”
In those “quick” two hours, they raised more than $20,000.
“It was wild,” Michael McChesney said about the experience.
Back at home, Jaren McChesney was seeing the donations and their accompanying messages come roll in real-time.
“And these messages were extremely heartfelt [and] tear-jerking,” she said. “Other moms with kids with rare disorders, reaching out say how inspired they were how it was really very moving.”
It was just so heartwarming reading the Venmo messages as they were coming in: ‘praying for you, for Landon, let’s beat this, let’s get this, go Landon, go blue, go Bucks.’ A lot of different teams were thrown out there… roll tide and Tigers. So just it didn’t matter. It truly showed that in a time of need that people really come together when something’s worth it. And Landon is obviously more than worth it.Jaren McChesney
Why such a short time clock though? The McChesneys are working with a new public benefit biotech corporation out of Silicon Valley that will create synthetic neurons from human samples of blood or tissue rather than from animal samples.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the LandOnACure Foundation.
You can watch the full interview with the McChesneys in the video below.