Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Call for Help for Cal

A number of other folks have already run this story (see DCist or Pitchfork), but due to the ties to the area and our particular focus here at IA, we felt as though we should continue to spread the word.

DeSoto Records, a fixture of the Mid-Atlantic music community, posted information regarding Channels, formed by Jawbox alum J. Robbins and his wife, Janet Morgan. Their son Callum Robbins was diagnosed with "a genetic motor neuron disease called Type 1 SMA, or Spinal Muscular Atrophy."

DeSoto's website details the disease in quite stark terms:

The facts are brutal: SMA kills kids. The disease affects the brain's ability to communicate with the voluntary muscles that are used for activities such as crawling, walking, head and neck control, breathing, and swallowing. Type 1 SMA is usually fatal; most Type 1 babies will die before their second birthday. Those infants who survive into childhood are in for a long road of occupational therapy, wheelchairs, and assistive devices. Despite years of work on its treatment and "ongoing promising research," it has no cure.

J., Janet, and Cal live every day with this disease hanging over their heads, and the path before them is extremely expensive and consuming of their former "normal lives." Cal will never be able to walk. Once he is old enough to require a wheelchair, he will be wheelchair-bound for life, which likely also means at some point he'll need surgery to correct for scoliosis.

It is an understatement to call this a heartbreaking situation. It also stands to be an unbelievably expensive one, especially for a household where the only wage-earner is a self-employed indie recording engineer....[Read the whole article]"

DeSoto has established a website where individuals can donate money via Paypal to help support the Robbins family during this incredibly challenging time. For more information on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, please go here.

For those unfamiliar, J. Robbins has long been an ardent supporter of the Mid-Atlantic music scene, working as a recording engineer for some of our favorite bands - most recently with Two if By Sea, and with sessions scheduled for AVEC. We're enormously saddened to hear this news, and hope that any people who are able can donate money to help support this family.


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