Our Story

Furnace Room Print Shop, formerly known as The Fighting Irish Martins, is run by Michelle Martin, a Langley, BC mom to twin boys, Axel and Jaxon, who both have cerebral palsy due to premature birth and a rare and severe condition during pregnancy called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. By day, I mom my amazing dudes 24/7, and work as a freelance B2B marketing copywriter by night. I also write a lot on my blog and Instagram, and make this store happen in my "spare time." (What is that, anyway? 😜)

I create fun (I hope?) mugs, clothing and other gift items with the hope of brightening your day, and to make a difference. I am passionate about raising awareness of cerebral palsy, and also advocating that our public health system does NOT support our kids the way it should. Private therapy is amazing and so beneficial to our kids, but out of financial reach for many families.

For that reason, and the kindness we have been shown to date, 10% of profits from all orders are donated to Canadian charities that support kids with CP and/or fund private physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy for Canadian children who have Cerebral Palsy!

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is "a term used to describe a group of disorders affecting body movement and muscle coordination." (from BC Cerebral Palsy) CP affects each person differently, but it usually includes some form of motor impairment, and can include problems with vision, hearing, swallowing, speaking and more.

There are many types of CP and it affects about 1 in 500 people, on a spectrum from mild to severe in terms of its effects on a person's life and mobility.

CP is considered "non-progressive" because it is due to brain damage (usually before or during the birth process from complications). However, as parents of kids with CP will tell you, it SEEMS like it's progressive because without constant intervention with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, stretching, muscle relaxants (sometimes) and surgery (sometimes)... kids can lose the skills they have worked so hard for.

And, for some children, without intensive therapies, they may never achieve skills that they're capable of.

This is my personal opinion - but I do not believe the Canadian health system does enough for kids with CP. Many publicly-funded programs have endless wait lists when study after study has proven EARLY and INTENSIVE intervention is the key to maximizing a child's learning, motor and other milestones.

As an example, though it is not true of all people, my twins received 30 minutes of physiotherapy once a month (or less often) from the public system. Not enough!

Seeking private therapy was something we realized was not optional after about a year (I wish we had discovered private options even existed before that!). We swallowed our pride to fundraise and accept gifts from others (not easy for us) to afford these therapies, and also refinanced our home, and spent over $50,000 in 2019 alone on physiotherapy, travel to specialists, equipment and other costs directly related to the boys' cerebral palsy - including vitally necessary medical equipment that was not covered by public health, or our private insurance, at the time.

(An example of a piece of equipment we had to buy -- about $6500 new but we were lucky to find it much cheaper used from another amazing family. :)

There is little to no funding in the public system to get kids what they need to not just live, but THRIVE. To actually participate in society and not just be accommodated, but be COMFORTABLE and fully included.

(A capture from a recent CME/MEDEK intensive we did with the boys - the amazing SMILE Therapy for Kids team.)

For me, this store is a creative outlet and fun project and finally a way to give back to other families in a meaningful way.

I hope you'll join me in this mission by either making a purchase or sharing my products/website on your social media or with friends!

And, of course, purchasing from me means you're helping me provide for my family as well, which is so appreciated, especially in this economy, am I right?!