Sunday, July 6, 2008

van's bench

when damion and i decided it was time to have a baby, my sister, julie, and her husband were deciding it was time to have their second baby. we both ended up pregnant within weeks of each other. she had her gorgeous 'little man, van' and i had eden (who is, of course, also gorgeous!).

as the kids got older, julie noticed that van was missing certain physical developmental milestones. after taking him in for tests and an appointment with the neurologist, van was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type II. SMA is a rare genetic condition that affects the proximal (closest to the trunk) muscles of the body.

julie asked me to build van a little bench and stool (the stool is still in the works) for his physio exercises. of course. but, a cool kid like van definitely needs a cool bench. so, i photoshopped the vans sneaker logo and a funky graphic to produce this design. i projected it onto the wood and painted it black. julie is going to take care of the finishing touches (adding a bit of colour and varnishing it).

for more information on SMA visit the families of sma or

i'm still deciding how to design the stool...if you have any suggestions, let me know.

new blog of the week feature

one of my new favourite pastimes seems to be scoping out neat blogs online. i get a little thrill when i find a cool new-to-me blog. when my cousin spent 6 weeks recovering from a surgery i sent her a new website everyday to help keep the boredom away. now that she's up on her feet again i've missed digging around the internet with purpose. so, i've decided to start a new feature here. every week i'll post a link to a blog i love. find it in the sidebar.


MJ said...

WOW! That bench is awesome!
I found your blog through Google Alerts for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. My name is MJ. I am 20 years old and am a junior in college. I have SMA type 1+, meaning I don't fit in any category.
I have an organization that sends blankets to kids with SMA and would love to send one to Van. My organization is called B4SMA. My caregiver and several others make the blankets. If you would like more information, check out
Should you decide that you would like to receive a blanket, please e-mail me at with your post address. All we ask in return is a picture of Van with his blanket covering him. Also, if I can help answer any questions you may have regarding SMA, please don't hesitate to email me at any time. I am not afraid to answer any questions you might have. Big hugs to you and your family and again, the bench is awesome.

RaShell said...

Hi Carolyn,

This bench is seriously COOL, I'm sure your Nephew will absolutely love it!

And thank you so much for picking Doodlage for your new blog feature!

jeffreyb said...

I also found this in the Google Alert but am behind MJ in reading it (you can't keep up with her!). The bench is beautiful, and what a cute idea for his name!

I wrote a book about our brief time with our third baby, Jeffrey (SMA, Type 1). Included in the book is a special dedication, with one section honoring those with SMA and another serving as a memorial. I would love to add Van's name to the dedication! You can see a little about the book at or email me at with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you or Julie! Best, Helen Baldwin

Carolyn said...

mj, thank you so much for your comment! it is great to hear from you. my sister happened to be over when i received your comment. she would be thrilled to receive one of your blankets - they are gorgeous! i'll email you with julie's contact info. get ready for a picture of the cutest little boy you've ever seen! lol.

and, helen, thank you for your post as well. i'm going to pass along your email address to julie too.

it's so wonderful to hear about the things you are doing to make a difference. you've offered us support with your actions. thank you.