Gabriel Eberhard has a personality like most 2-year-old boys. He plays with his younger sister and teases his older brothers. But physically, Gabriel can't run around and play like most of his peers.

Gabriel Eberhard has a personality like most 2-year-old boys. He plays with his younger sister and teases his older brothers. But physically, Gabriel can't run around and play like most of his peers.

Eberhard suffers from a condition called anthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which means he has contractures of the joints and atrophy of the muscles.

"We call him a punk with orthopedic issues," his mother, MaryBeth Eberhard said. "He's got such character. He spends time in timeout just like everyone else."

Eberhard was born with his legs tucked behind him and has suffered numerous treatments to correct it. Right now he's wearing an external fixture on his right leg to straighten it. The fixture has screws and pins that pierce through the bone and skin and looks somewhat like a cage, MaryBeth Eberhard said.

"Gabe is strong," said the Upper Arlington mom. "He has a strength that surpasses anything I've ever seen. It's a lot that we ask him to go through and he does it with courage and sprit, but he's also gentle."

The condition affects Eberhard's upper and lower extremities and limits his range of motion in his legs, arms and hands.

The entire Eberhard family, which includes MaryBeth and husband Ryan, 6-year-old Samuel, 4-year-old Peter and 8-month-old Lily, travel nearly every week to Pennsylvania for Gabriel's treatments.

Travel expenses and bills from Eberhard's therapy quickly mount up. To help defray some of the costs, the owners of TehKu Tea Co. will host a fundraising event in Eberhard's honor.

Jon-Michael and Inggrie Merriman have started the CommuniTEA Foundation, a nonprofit organization to support community members who are nominated by other community members.

"We know a lot of people are doing philanthropic efforts and a lot of times it's for things in other countries and states," said Inggrie Merriman. "A lot of times we fail to notice there are people in our communities that need help."

The foundation will host its first fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 at TehKu Tea, 55 S. High St.

The event will feature live music by Jeannine Abshier and Kyle Rowland, international foods and teas, and a silent auction including items such as Blue Jackets hockey tickets and a free one-night stay at the Hilton Gardens at Polaris, Merriman said.

All the proceeds will be donated to Eberhard.

Tickets to the event are $50 per person and can be reserved by calling TehKu Tea at (614) 761-3808 by Saturday, Nov. 1. Donations are being accepted at the store.

"Our goal is not to just to raise money but connect the family members to other community members who might be able to help," Merriman said.

This is the first fundraiser for the foundation which it hopes to host twice a year. Nominations are being accepted for the next event to be held in the spring. Nomination forms can be downloaded at www.tehku.com.

bdunlap@thisweeknews.com