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Silas helps inspire ‘SO Awesome’ gift

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UPDATED January 19, 2016: Silas Camp, a former patient treated about 4 years ago for plagiocephaly and torticollis, visited Mary Free Bed’s Outpatient Pediatric Therapy team with a special gift for other young patients.

During the holiday season, his family’s business, SO Awesome, gives back to the West Michigan community through its “One for One” program. Mary Free Bed was among the non-profit organizations selected this past season to receive sets of “SO Awesome” educational cards based on sales success. The cards will be used for several types of pediatric therapy.

“Our numbers were doubled from our original estimate and the department will receive 200 card decks,” said Marie-Claire Camp, Silas’ mother and creator of the “SO Awesome” cards. “Mary Free Bed was there for us, so we had to do something.”

Marie-Claire, Silas, and his twin brother, Owen — who will turn 6 in March – presented the decks to physical therapist Andrea Dennis and speech-language pathologist Lauren Nykamp.

“This really is awesome,” Lauren said.

SO5Marie-Claire Camp is a Grand Rapids-based graphic designer who was inspired by her now 5-year-old twin sons, Owen and Silas, to create educational “wallet cards” for kids.

When they were toddlers, the boys were attracted to the important cards in their mom’s wallet, and, in Silas’ case, with the Mary Free Bed ID card worn around the neck of his physical therapist.

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“I remember Silas grabbing for her badge instead of the toys from the toy cabinet,” Marie-Claire said. “It was one of the first times I remember thinking that cards like these should exist.”

When the twins were born, Marie-Claire and her husband, Victor, noticed something different about the way Silas’ head moved and that he seemed uncomfortable in situations in which Owen was not.

“He couldn’t look to the right very well at all and was very upset while playing and nursing, too. He seemed like he was in pain,” she said. “We took him to our pediatrician at Saint Mary’s, and she referred us immediately to Mary Free Bed. The team was amazing.”

Silas was diagnosed with plagiocephaly and torticollis, and the Outpatient Pediatric Therapy team worked with the Camps on a treatment plan that included a cranial remolding helmet and daily physical therapy. The family was pleased with how physical therapist Andrea Dennis “was able to get him to move, how kind she was and how much Silas liked her, too.”

“We worked really hard together to help him have a full range of motion and as a result, his quality of life improved ten-fold,” Marie-Claire said. “He’s now a happy, healthy kid. You’d never know now how much we struggled in those early days.”

SO 7Three years later, the Camps’ “little family business” called SO Awesome sells a variety of educational and durable “wallet cards” worldwide through its website, youguysaresoawesome.com, and in select stores. The wallet-sized cards feature themes that range from the alphabet to public transit.

During the holiday season, SO Awesome gives back to the West Michigan community through its “One for One” program. Mary Free Bed is among the non-profit organizations selected to receive a matching set of cards for each set purchased. The cards will be used for several types of pediatric therapy.

Speech-language pathologist Lauren Nykamp already has used the card sets during patient sessions.
“The ones I’ve found myself using the most are the Emotions cards,” Lauren said. “I’ve been working with a young girl who has a hard time putting words to her emotions and, as a result, has been acting out at school. We’ve used the Emotions cards to talk about what she’s feeling, why she may be feeling that way, what she might say in those scenarios, etc. She loves them, and we’ve been making progress on her skills.”SO4

Lauren also has consistently used the company’s “Go!”-themed cards.

“One of our goals in speech therapy for our younger language-delayed kiddos is often identifying actions and/or describing pictures. The Go! cards are excellent for targeting these goals, as they’re varied and detailed, giving our kids a lot of different ways to use their words and communicate what they see,” she said. “They are a great addition to our therapy programs here at MFB OTC.”

Marie-Claire is thrilled to be able to support Mary Free Bed and its mission to restore hope and freedom through rehabilitation.

“We’re thankful that Mary Free Bed is there to help children and families like ours,” she said. “We’re happy to give back.”

To order a set of children’s wallet cards, visit youguysaresoawesome.com.

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