When Hobbs Smith arrived into the arms of his parents, Eric and Mery Smith, a year ago, doctors realized right away that he wasn’t exactly like his two older siblings. A few tests later Hobbs was diagnosed with Down syndrome, but that didn’t rattle the family.
“We weren’t sad or anything,” said Eric Smith. “My wife and I kind of locked eyes and said to each other, ‘Well, here we go.’ ”
When Hobbs was just 9 weeks old, he had his first appointment at Spokane Guilds’ School, a nonprofit organization that works with children from birth to 3 with disabilities, and their families.
“They’ve just been amazing,” Smith said. “So we decided we wanted to celebrate Hobbs’ first year by doing something different and by giving back to the school.”
Smith, who’s an art director at the Web design company Seven2, created a T-shirt featuring a cute and stylized bulldog face, and the family is now selling the T-shirts online and donating all proceeds to the school.
No, they didn’t pick the bulldog motif because they are Gonzaga fans.
“We call Hobbs our little bulldog sometimes, because he makes this cute face that sort of looks like a bulldog,” Smith said. The website went up about a month ago and 50 T-shirts have already been shipped out.
Staff at the Guilds’ School was surprised and supportive when Smith told them of the idea.
“We are really excited. I don’t think we’ve ever had someone do something like this for us,” said Emily Borders, assistant events manager at the Guilds’ School and the person who’s worked with Smith as he developed the T-shirt idea. “They said they really wanted to give back to the school to celebrate Hobbs’ first birthday. We were so pleased they thought of us.”
Borders added that many parents volunteer at the school and participate in different fundraising and support projects as they best can.
Smith said the support from the Guilds’ School, where Hobbs has several weekly therapy appointments, has helped the family immensely.
“Whoever holds him, he just looks them straight in the eye and he just wants to get to know them,” Smith said. “I am very happy to be his dad.”