If you haven’t yet heard of Mighty Miss Maya, you may want to check the inspiration meter of your social media feeds. Her first steps have been hopping, skipping, and jumping all over the web, restoring faith in the indomitable human spirit. The fact that Maya was wearing PLAE shoes when she took those first few steps tickles us way past pink - not only do we love it when our shoes hug little feetsies taking their first steps wherever and whenever they take them, but we take pride in helping to support developing bodies as they find their strength and balance the way Maya is doing now.
Photos care of Ann Tisdale
Only one year ago, in July of 2017, a conference was held for families and individuals impacted by a chromosome 17q12 disorder. Those in attendance had come from all corners of the United States and were just meeting for the first time at the conference, but they shared common goals and quickly formed a board consisting of four parents and a genetic counselor. Within six months, they received the official 501(c)3 designation from the IRS to operate as a nonprofit organization by the name 17q12 Foundation.
Photos care of Liz Fourie
Nicole was devastated when her son Casper was diagnosed with clubfoot in week 20 of her pregnancy. She kept telling herself, “It could be worse,” but she was simultaneously eager to get his treatment over and done with so she and her family could move on with their lives and never have to think about it again. After all, her doctors had assured her it would be an “easy fix."
Photos care of Nicole Bytnerowics
After Scott’s father passed away due to cancer and the strain on his body from chemotherapy and radiation, Scott did not know what to do. He says his father “was the type of person that even though he was in a difficult fight, he would still give the shirt off his back to the person next to him. So to honor his memory, I had to do something that would give back to people who were in the same fight he battled for years.” Scott decided to establish the nonprofit Let Me Live Foundation to help people fighting cancer manage the financial hit that comes with receiving medical treatment.
Photos care of Let Me Live Foundation
When Rasha’s three-year-old son Bazi was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a multi-systemic genetic disorder that causes muscular deterioration of the heart, lung, and skeleton, she had no idea where to turn for help. Rasha says nonprofit group Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) was her “light at the end of the tunnel.” PPMD consists of an amazing group of passionate parents who work tirelessly to alter the anticipated outcome of Duchenne, which primarily strikes male children and typically results in much shorter lifespans than most of us hope for.
Photos care of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
We all need a little help sometimes. The Southern Marin Mothers’ Club (SMMC), run entirely by 70+ enthusiastic mom and dad volunteers, recognizes this. The club supports its members while engaging in meaningful philanthropic work to benefit local nonprofits that support parents, children, and families. For their 2018-2019 fundraising term, SMMC formed a partnership with Novato-based Gilead House, whose mission is one all SMMC members can get behind: housing homeless single mothers and their children.
Photos care of Gilead House
After a year of looking for answers to explain her son’s developmental delays, Jen’s son Asher was diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome (JS) in May of 2016. The Joubert Syndrome and Related Disorders Foundation (JSRDF) is where Jen and her family turned to learn critical information about the disease and, thankfully, where they also discovered a strong support system.
Photos care of Jen Brady
Holly and her family had just moved to Marin when their eldest child, Ellie, was 15 months old. Holly was newly pregnant with her second child and wanted to find a safe, easy place to take Ellie to play outside. She joined Pixie Park on the recommendation of a neighbor and was hooked. The lovely enclosed playground was a lifesaver because Holly didn't have to worry about Ellie running away or into the street - so much so that even when she was nine months pregnant Holly continued to feel comfortable bringing Ellie there.
Photos care of Julia Zave Photography
When their precious 20-month-old daughter Ava was diagnosed with a rare neurogenic disorder called Angelman Syndrome (AS), parents Rachel and Cole immediately sought out any information they could find on the disorder. They quickly discovered that FAST was a leading champion for individuals with AS, seeking not only to improve quality of life but also to find an effective treatment for the disorder
Photos care of FAST
When you see POW! and WOW! what comes to mind? Caped community-defending superheroes? If so, then you’re on the right track when considering the non-profit foundation POW! WOW!. Drawing a link to masked crime fighters is not how POW! WOW!’s name originated, though. POW! = the impact that art has on people and WOW! = the reaction people have when seeing art. Together, POW WOW = a Native American term describing a gathering celebrating culture, music, and art. People gathering to create and celebrate art and culture? Sounds like community-promoting superhero work to us, and it makes us want to shout, “POW! WOW!”