Grandpa vows to walk 230K steps to raise awareness for ailment that took his grandson’s life

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BASKING RIDGE -

A Somerset County man is on a mission to walk 230,000 steps in just 23 days in order to raise awareness for the medical condition that claimed the life of his 10-year-old grandson.

Don Szymanski says that he is on a mission to walk 10,000 steps a day for 23 days to honor his grandson Connor Nemes.

“Can't stop because I know he wouldn’t, so that's what keeps me going,” Szymanski says.

Last year around this time Connor was in the fight of his life after he suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is a rupture in his brain. It happened June 3rd, 2018. He died 23 days later on June 26.

“He went into emergency surgery and had some complications within those 23 days. He was in ICU and he lost his life…after those complications,” says Connor’s Aunt Stacy Beyer.

Beyer says that the death left the family in shock.

"Connor was my best friend in the whole world. He was the best little boy,” she says.

Szymanski says that he wanted to do something as the 1-year anniversary of Connor’s death approached. He says that he wanted to honor the 23 days that changed his family’s life.

"Last year was the worst 23 days of our lives and this year is the second worst. It's not easy. It's not easy, you think about them all the time and you just do it you can keep his memory alive,” he says.

Shortly after his death Connor’s Crew New Jersey was formed. Since then his family and friends have been raising money to fund research for AVM and shine a light on the condition. But they say that their biggest mission is to do what Connor did best - spread kindness.

“Be nice. That's all. Just be nice to everybody because you don't know what trials and tribulations they may be going through or what they had to do to get up that day,” Szymanski says.

More information about Connor’s Crew can be found on the group’s website.

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