HOLLY SPRINGS — Eight-year-old Isabelle Leclaire started making bracelets to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society after she found out two years ago her mother, Jessica Leclaire, has the disease.
Isabelle is a rising third-grader at Woodstock Elementary School, who, like many girls her age, is interested in cheerleading and basketball.
But unlike most other 8-year-olds, Isabelle also is busy helping out at home and raising money to find a cure for MS.
Isabelle makes friendship and beaded bracelets in the family dining room, which her mom said has been the official bracelet-making room since January.
“My mom, she has MS,” the Isabelle said. “I feed the dogs, help make breakfast sometimes, and lunch and dinner.”
Jessica Leclaire said she found out she had MS when she was 27 years old. She said the hardest part was knowing the struggle her husband would go through.
“My husband’s mom actually has MS, which is why I think it was extra (devastating),” she said. “She’s a lot more advanced so we knew first-hand; it was devastating to find out because we’ve seen it every day.”
Jessica Leclaire said her biggest fear was that her daughter would grow up and have MS, too.
“I have a very exhausting job as it is, but my energy level has been affected,” she said. “It’s kind of depressing, but I’m a very positive person. I try to live each day with my family.”
Leclaire and her children were the opening speakers for the Marietta MS Walk in April, and Jessica Leclaire’s mother, AnnMarie Rodriguez, said they had one of the biggest teams there.
“I was so emotionally impressed with my grandchildren and my daughter, I guarantee there was not a dry eye in the audience as they spoke and told their story,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said she doesn’t usually brag, but that her granddaughter is an angel.
“My granddaughter Isabelle wanted to do something to help her mom get better,” Rodriguez said. “A hundred percent of the proceeds go to MS. I am so proud of her.”
Rodriguez said her daughter is not alone in fighting MS, and their family supports her the best they can.
“As a mom I see her struggle and it’s very emotional and difficult to see,” Rodriguez said. “My daughter tells me all the time, ‘Mom I’m blessed, it could be worse.’”
Isabelle said she feels good about making bracelets to help her mom, and said they sold bracelets at her grandma’s work, dance class, church, basketball, high schools, day care and door-to-door.
Her mom has been running a day care out of her house for a few years and said so far Isabelle has made between 200 and 300 bracelets. The bracelets Isabelle makes have raised $2,044 for their MS Walk team, and overall their team has raised $10,700 so far.
All of Jessica’s children help raise money for the MS Society. Isabelle’s younger siblings, Madelyn, and Ben, paint pictures and make other artwork to sell online.
Jessica Leclaire’s nephews also make handmade art, which is for sale on the family’s MS fundraiser website at LeclaireLions.webs.com/. Photos of Isabelle’s bracelets and all of the other children’s art can also be found on the website.