Robert Stone

Counting on the generosity of the crowd

Counting on the generosity of the crowd

Robert Stone was a healthy baby until he was 13 months old. Then, over three or four days, he became unresponsive and lost the use of his limbs. His bewildered parents put him through one medical test after another, each yielding inconclusive results.

The tests have remained mostly inconclusive for the past 13 years. The next step for the Stone family is to pay to have the boy's genetic material mapped in an attempt to find the cause of his illness. But that costs a minimum of $7,500, and insurance doesn't cover it.

So the family has turned to the Internet and a new Baltimore startup — a nonprofit founded by a Johns Hopkins University graduate student — for...