Happy Tuesday, everyone! I am always so amazed and inspired when I hear of kiddos in our community that are making our world a better place and helping those in need. If this is your first time reading this series, make sure to check out all of the heart-warming little leader stories here. August is SMA awareness month and today, I am SO excited to welcome Maliyah Chung to the blog to share her story and how she is giving back to various organizations with her friend Maya every month!
Take it away ladies!
My name is Maliyah Chung. I was born with a rare disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. SMA affects all my muscles except my brain. Even though I drive a powered wheelchair, having SMA has not stopped me from doing so many things I love to do. I love reading, math, playing the piano, painting, crafting, swimming, and being outdoors. I’ve had the opportunity to do adapted sports such as adapted biking, adapted skiing with VASS, hiking in a trail rider with BCMOS, kayaking with CRIS, and using my trail rider which was gifted to me by the Love for Lewiston Foundation. I love camping in the summer with other SMA families organized through CURE SMA Canada, and I love hanging out with my family playing board games and watching TV like “Love it or List It Vancouver ”:)
In December, 2020, I started making mask lanyards. I have always loved to bead as it allows me to be creative! I love making designs with different types of beads and colours. I made some for my family, teachers at my previous schools, friends, I took some to BC children’s hospital, and gave some to the Canuck Place Hospice rec therapists.
Everyone loved them and told me to open up a shop. I was homeschooling last year because it was too risky for me to go to school during Covid, so I took their advice and opened up an Etsy shop with the help of my mom and my friend, Maya. It was a financial literacy project! My mom is a teacher and so she thought it would be a great way for me to learn about finances:)
Maya and I became partners! We had met at a physio clinic a couple years ago where she was volunteering. She just finished her undergrad at SFU and will be going to Medical School next year! Maya and I love to bead together! In addition to making mask lanyards/eyeglasses holders, we also make gemstone Mala healing bracelets, reusable tote bags with cute phrases, macrame, essential oil rollers, and MORE! We laugh a lot together and sometimes we take breaks to bake!! We named our shop, DoubleMdesigns20. The doubleM is for Maya and Maliyah!
From our Etsy sales, we ended up surpassing our goal in our first full month on Etsy, so we decided to give some of our profits back to loved charities each month. As of today, we’ve raised $1600 for various charities. Making and giving has brought us so much joy! We want to keep going and we have plans to give back to an animal charity in September:)
We like to get our beads from local bead stores to support them. We now have some of our products at COMPASS pilates/physio, FULCRUM therapy, LASH FREAK, and JAK and JILLS clothing store. We love connecting with others in the community! Our story was featured in the TriCity News and Spotlight. We have an Instagram and Facebook page too where we update our products and donations. Maya and I are makers with a purpose! Every purchase gives back:)
Below are the charities we have supported so far and will keep on giving! We also recently made a gift basket for a “Dan’s Legacy” fundraiser to help at-risk youth in Vancouver.
February: Loveforlewiston.ca (in honour of Lewiston)
March: canuckplace.org (for being an amazing place to go and feel cared for)
April: curesma.ca (for supporting families with Spinal Muscular Atrophy like mine)
May: insiyah-thezaky.ca (in living honour of my friend, Insiyah, who inspires me)
June:oif.org/cois (in living honour of my friend, Mei, who inspires me)
July: muscle.ca (for supporting families with neuromuscular conditions like mine)
August: http://www.bcchildrens.ca/ (BC Children’s hospital)
September/October: we are choosing an animal charity
For more information, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram and visit our Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DoubleMdesigns20. You can also email us at email@example.com. We are so honoured to be able to give back and share our story here on Jillian’s website!
Maliyah Chung and Maya Buchko