EVERETT (CBS) – Richard and Jared Connor are best friends. They are also father and son.
“He’s all I could ask for in life,” said Richard Connor.
We caught up with the Connor family in Everett as they made the final preparations for an event in Jared’s name.
“His presence is all love. He is a complete living angel,” said Reia Briggs-Connor, Jared’s mother.
When he was two, doctors diagnosed Jared with a rare genetic condition called Sanfilippo syndrome. He has never spoken, but he is a known cuddler.
“He doesn’t speak, but he says a lot through his emotions. He’s taught everyone a new level of love that we probably would have never known,” said Reia.
The neuro-degenerative disease has now taken his ability to walk. But, for nine years, he has inspired others to run or walk in “Jared’s Run” taking place in Everett.
“It’s also emotional in a positive way. We see all the love and support from our community,” said Reia.
Richard Connor is a long-time Everett police officer. His wife, Reia, is a former Patriots cheerleader.
They are most proud of their role as parents to their two sons.
“He does so much for his brother and takes care of his brother,” said Reia. “The day-to-day is not easy, but we try to take it as it is and try to show we love him each day.”
For those with the disease, there is no cure and the life expectancy is 12 to 14 years old. “Jared’s Run” raises money for research with the goal of giving kids like Jared an edge in the fight.
“He’s coming up on his 14th birthday this year. This year is extra special, you know, just plugging away and keep fighting for him because he’s a fighter and he doesn’t want us to give up,” said Richard.
Jared’s Run, now in its ninth year, will step off at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Everett Recreation Center. Donations are also being accepted at the Everett Police Department.