StoriesDec 2, 2019

Raising Awareness Through Art: Westin’s Story

“Eight years ago, was the first time that I had ever heard the words Spina Bifida. We had no idea that two little words would turn our world upside down. The day we received our son’s diagnosis we were also told he would have no quality of life and would probably never walk or talk because of it. I wish I could go back in time and know then what I know now. While Westin has been through his fair share of surgeries braces, specialists and therapies, he does it all with a smile on his face. He is such a fighter and he is so much more than his diagnosis. He’s sweet, creative & spunky. It may be a part of him but I will never allow it to define him. 

Our family moved from North Dakota to Tennessee to have better access to the best resources possible for Westin. Until very recently, our resources were limited in terms of in-person interaction with other families going through a similar journey. All of our information about Spina Bifida, from diagnosis day, until we moved had come from online sources including blogs and Facebook. Now, we have been able to build a community and have playdates with other families. Westin also does adaptive activities such as baseball, where he enjoys being around other children who are just like him. 

Recently, Westin won a drawing contest that was hosted by a children’s clothing company called Bestaroo. His design, which he calls the Rad Reindeer was printed and is currently being sold on pajamas and blankets. Proceeds from each sale are being donated to SBA to help further their advocacy and research efforts and develop new programs. 

We never expected to win, but we are very happy that we did. Now, we have the opportunity to educate people about Spina Bifida while selling this awesome product. From the moment we decided to enter the contest we knew that we wanted SBA to be our charity of choice. The work that they do for the Spina Bifida community is so important because you provide resources for people of all ages, whether you are an infant or an adult. You can use SBA throughout your whole life. 

I hope that people learn a lot about Spina Bifida through this project. I think that education is so important because there are so many misconceptions about Spina Bifida. If this project can teach one person about it then I accomplished what I wanted. ” – Heather Wiberg, Mother to Westin