By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Bucks County fashion designer, inspired by her artistic grandniece, is featuring the work of disabled children.
She hopes their creations raise money to help other children. The vision: Playgrounds paid for with the funds raised by children like these.
Eight-year-old Hazel Shaw can’t speak or move her body easily. Colleen Shaw, Hazel’s mother, explains, “She was born missing a piece of her 9th chromosome. That has pretty much left her with difficulty walking independently and speaking.”
But with help, Hazel has been learning to paint. Her colorful artwork caught the eye of her mother’s aunt, Debbie Martin, of Debbie Martin Designs Inc.
“She doesn’t have a lot of mobility, so she was able to move her hands and finger-paint, and it was very colorful,” Debbie said. Her idea: feature Hazel’s artwork in scarves.
Twenty percent of the sale price of each of Hazel’s scarves is going to a fund called Hazel’s Hope, raising money for playgrounds for disabled children and research into treatment.
The scarves proved so popular, Debbie asked for more disabled children to submit their art.
“I immediately thought of Adam’s art and was like, ‘We gotta try this,'” said Wendy Steines of Gloucester Township.
One of the first artworks chosen was by Wendy’s son, 11-year-old Adam Marchesani. He has autism.
Adam described the colors: “Purple, blue, yellow, green, orange, red, and white!”
“It’s just gorgeous,” Wendy said of the scarf. “I love how vibrant it is.”
Another scarf is by Wendy’s 13-year-old son, Nicholas Marchesani, who has Asperger’s.
“I did a blue background with watercolor, and then the yellow stars, so that the yellow kind of faded off of the stars into the background,” Nicholas said.
Wendy said, “It’s just such a great cause and we’ve received so much help from other people, so it’s great to pay it forward and be able to help someone else.”
The Hazel and Friends scarves line has already sold several hundred scarves since December, raising at least two thousand dollars. They hope this is just the beginning of kids helping kids.
The scarves are available online and in several local boutiques. To order online, go to
To find out more about the Hazel and Friends scarf line, go to http://www.debbiemartindesigns.com/hazel-friends/