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Macon family starts music scholarship for kids in honor of their son

The Whitten family is partnering with the Jazz Association of Macon to give students interested in music a chance and to honor their son, Marc.

MACON, Ga. — A Macon family is keeping their son's spirit alive by helping students in Central Georgia with a music scholarship.

Marc Whitten was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at just 12-years-old. The disease affects your digestive tract, but he never let that stop him from playing his guitar or creating beautiful artwork.

Sometimes life is like a blank canvas.

"He was born in 1973," Marc's dad, Rick, said. 

Sometimes it's a chance to paint your future. 

"He had huge hobbies, music and arts I would think were the major ones," Rick said. 

Looking around Marc's home you can find artwork and guitars everywhere.

"He was intrigued by it I think, this was in his older age, this was probably in his 30s when he started painting," Rick said. 

Being diagnosed with Crohn's disease, Marc used art as an outlet.

"He was a featured artist for the Riverdale Arts and Crafts Festival, probably about 2004, a really long time ago," Rick said.

RELATED: 'We like to spread the gospel of jazz:' 16th annual Jazz and Arts on Riverdale held in Macon

Through the years, Marc had more than 30 operations. He still graduated from college and traveled to concerts, all while trying to find a cure.

"He would find various drugs that were available for Crohn's and sometimes other diseases that would work for relatively short periods, but generally he was unresponsive," Rick said.

In 2018, Rick says Marc went to hospice care. Later that year, he lost his battle with Crohn's disease.

"It was heart wrenching, it was like a bad dream in a way," Rick said. 

Before Marc died, his dad talked to him about a scholarship fund in his honor. 

"I said, 'What are you thoughts?' And he said, 'I would like to do something related to music,'" Rick said. 

With that, Rick called the Jazz Association of Macon to set the Marc Whitten Memorial Music Scholarship up. 

"It is open to students in middle school through college, living in Bibb, Houston, and Monroe County," Rick said.

The scholarships start at $500 for funding musical instruments, music lessons, or summer camps. 

"Music and arts in general are such an enriching part of life," Rick said.

Like Marc, the pictures he painted will remain vibrant, brightening the lives of kids throughout Central Georgia. 

RELATED: Jazz Association of Macon gets kids jazzed about music

If you would like to apply for the scholarship, click here to go to the Jazz Association's website

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