Calvin Saxton isn’t the typical tween.
First of all, he’s a humanitarian, donating more than $20,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation over the past two years.
Second, the 12-year-old artist owns his own business, Kid Creature, drawing vibrant illustrations of creatures for T-shirts, hoodies, hats, socks and skateboards, shaping and designing his own line of surfboards — and donating a generous portion of his proceeds to support the CF cause.
“Cystic fibrosis needs to be stopped,” says the seventh-grader, who can be found surfing before school in Newport Beach, Calif. “It makes me feel good to know the money helps someone who needs help, rather than spending money on stuff that I don’t need.”
Inspired by Surfer Friends with CF
Calvin was on the beach when he first met his friend Taylor Ross and other children with CF who were learning how to surf — not only for fun, but also for the therapeutic effects of inhaling the super salty mist. Having asthma, Calvin could relate to the soothing effects of the water sport on his lungs — and his personal experience proved true as the CF Foundation helped make hypertonic saline available as a CF treatment, with 10,000 people now benefiting from the therapy.
Calvin Saxton (center), pictured here with fellow artists Jason Maloney and Evan Rossel, uses his successful business Kid Creature to benefit the CF cause.
Impressed by Taylor’s surfing skills and inspired by the daily challenges she faces from CF, Calvin and his family became involved with the CF Foundation Southern California Chapter’s Pipeline to a Cure fundraising event, which takes place each July at Huntington Beach, Calif.
At the event, Calvin helps teach surfing and hands out his T-shirts and hand-made posters featuring his signature three-headed creatures. Calvin also supports the CF Foundation through his T-shirt line with the surf company Volcom, which donates a percentage of the proceeds — totaling more than $5,000 so far.
Building a Business, Through a Little Child’s Play
Calvin’s Kid Creature business started on a lark two years ago when he told his sister that he could draw a better Cyclops than the picture she drew for a book report on Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey.
A family friend then asked Calvin to draw a Cyclops on his surfboard, and Calvin’s dad, Roger, got the creature screened onto two T-shirts, just for fun. Local surfing pros saw the shirts and wanted one, and the buzz for Kid Creature skyrocketed when professional surfer Dane Reynolds wore Calvin’s design on the winners’ podium at The Hurley Pro Trestles in Lower Trestles, Calif., in September 2010 as part of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Tour.
Quickly, there was a demand for the unique shirts. Eventually, Calvin created a business, which has become a family affair: His parents Roger and Nicole offer their full support, his sister, Hanah, 17, coordinates Kid Creature events and his brother, Matt, 15, videotapes promos.
Today Calvin’s designs are sold around the world, including Australia and Japan — and he has leveraged his business success into thousands of dollars in donations to help people with cystic fibrosis.
Roger says he is still shocked that his son’s doodles spun into a successful business that is supporting the fight against CF: “It never ceases to amaze me.”
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