Autistic eco-artist, in Fond du Lac, flourish while fighting cancer


FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) — An autistic artist living in Fond du Lac, recently diagnosed with cancer, is thriving with his extended family at SSM Health. The team helping nurture the youngster in more ways than one.

Grant Manier, 26, also known as Jigsaw Grant, is an eco-artist. Manier, who has autism, uses everything from movie posters and magazines to empty tissue boxes and puzzle pieces to create his art. He won awards, was commissioned by big companies to produce plays, and together with his mother they created a series of children’s books.

According to Manier, “I have a lot of anxiety, but when I’m working on my art, all that anxiety seems to go away. It’s like a form of meditation. I feel calm, I feel relaxed.

Manier and his mother recently moved to Fond du Lac, Texas, because of SSM Health, Treffert Center, and future Treffert Studios. The facilities strive to harvest the talents and strengths of people – like Grant – to help them become employable and more independent.

“In Grant’s case, it’s his artistry and his acting and voice-over skills and I’m just trying to help him find that. Well, the Treffert Center opened that door, double doors, double doors open for this opportunity. And I feel, I honestly feel that I’ll be fine, he’ll be fine if one day I’m not there,” says Manier’s mother, Julie Coy.

Manier’s move to Fond du Lac proved almost life-saving, as earlier this year he was diagnosed – by doctors at SSM Health – with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He is currently seeking treatment through SSM Health. But it’s the team at the Treffert Center and doctors like Jeremy Chapman, who shaved his head in solidarity with Manier, who was losing his hair due to cancer treatments, that help him on his journey. Dr Chapman adds: “Hopefully that disarms the whole process for him and we can have some fun and get the buzz, we didn’t really know what we were doing.”

That camaraderie makes a difference, “They just gave me so much love and support through it all because we didn’t have family coming here to Wisconsin, these guys, such amazing people, so much love, so much support,” Manier says.

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. And Manier will have his works on display, all month, at Gallery Frame Shop, 94 S. Main Street. For more information on Grant Manier’s work, visit his website.

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