Give A Helping Hand

We know that the holiday season brings out the benefactor in everyone, so we present to you two causes more than worthy of your thoughts, prayers, and charitable impulses. The first plea comes from Jawbox’s J. Robbins, whose January-born baby Callum arrived in this world with with a genetic motor neuron disease called Type 1 SMA, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy. From Jawbox’s message about Callum:

He was 8-odd pounds and 20-odd inches of wriggling, squirming, screaming joy, and the apple of his parents’ eye.

As Cal grew, though, his parents began to notice that the expected development milestones – biting his toes, squeezing Janet’s finger, even rolling over and sitting up unsupported – weren’t happening. As a parent, you never want to think that something is wrong with your child. You bury your doubts and convince yourself that your baby is just different, that he’s got his own way of doing things, that he’s just “mellow.” You’ve got diapers to change, bottles to warm, baths to give. Life has to go on.

Sometime around Cal’s 8-month birthday in September, J. and Janet took him to his pediatrician for his regular appointment. They knew from the doctor’s grave tone that something was terribly wrong.

The facts are brutal: SMA kills kids. The disease affects the brain’s ability to communicate with the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, breathing, and swallowing. Type 1 SMA is usually fatal; most Type 1 babies will die before their second birthday. Those infants who survive into childhood are in for a long road of occupational therapy, wheelchairs, and assistive devices. Despite years of work on its treatment and “ongoing promising research,” it has no cure.

Conventional medicine offers no cure, but there’s hope in alternative routes. Expensive alternative routes. And with the household’s only wage-earner “a self-employed indie recording engineer,” the Robbins could use your help. If you’d like to donate, please do so here.

The second comes from the House Of Hearts Benefit show, a two day concert at Club Europa in Brooklyn, with proceeds benefitting The Father’s Heart Ministries soup kitchen, and the Friendship House, a mental health community center in Knoxville. The two-day line up includes DJ Tres (of Psychic Ills) and Midnight Motion (members of Girzzly Bear). It’s a good cause, and it’s live music. What’s better? Check the flyer for more info.