Girl with genetic disorder paints to help others in need
CAZENOVIA, N.Y. -- Everyday things many of us do without thinking prove difficult for 8-year-old Hazel Shaw. She uses a wheelchair to get around and is just learning to talk, but despite her rare genetic disorder finger painting is where she sparkles.
"She loves the sensory of having the paint on her hands and making a mess. She loves it," says her mother Colleen Shaw.
Her mother helps her get started, but then Hazel takes over with swoops and swirls galore.
"It's hard to be able to find age appropriate things for Hazel to be able to participate in on a day to day basis, so this gives her that expression."
Some of the designs Hazel makes are being used to help others. Her Great-Aunt saw what she painted over the summer. She owns her company, Debbie Martin Designs. The paintings are put on scarves. So far, five of Hazel's designs have been used. They've just started being sold in the last two weeks.
"We have had so much support. People in the community, family, friends, teachers. Everyone is so excited to get their hands on one."
Twenty percent of each scarf will go to Hazel's Hope, an organization that will fund genetic research and will also go toward building accessible playgrounds for children with disabilities like her.
"The more we know the more we can help kids in the future and hopefully we'll get to that point."
Her mother hopes seeing the happiness Hazel gets out of finger painting will help inspire others to do something similar in their own community.
"Because they thrive when they're doing things that they love to do, I mean you can see her smile. She really loves doing this."