Donny’s Wax co-founders, Taro Milligan (left) and Erik Levings (right), take a picture with Donnie Irvine after surprising him with a brand-new skateboard. Submitted photo.

Donny’s Wax co-founders, Taro Milligan (left) and Erik Levings (right), take a picture with Donnie Irvine after surprising him with a brand-new skateboard. Submitted photo.

Abbotsford teens start skateboard-wax company named after friend with Down syndrome

Donny’s Wax to donate 10% of each sale to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society

A brand-new skateboard-wax company in Abbotsford, Donny’s Wax, is named after Donnie Irvine, a local Grade 8 student with Down syndrome.

The kicker – the company’s co-founders are two of his friends from middle school, Erik Levings and Taro Milligan, who have pledged 10 per cent of each sale to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.

“Last summer, we were at Donnie’s house, and he really liked using our skateboards and boarding around,” Levings said. “All my friends are friends with Donnie, and we thought that if we did this it would make him really happy.”

The boys intended to raise enough money to surprise Irvine with a skateboard of his own, but a local shop, Replay Boardshop, decided to donate a deck after being approached by Levings and Milligan about selling the wax pucks in their store.

“We went there and talked with the owner and they bought six. [But] they’ve already sold out, so we’re going to restock tomorrow (May 7),” Levings said. “We’ve basically sold to every one of our friends, but once it got into Replay, it did really well.”

Irvine was overjoyed when his friends showed up to his front door with a skateboard, according to Levings.

“It was crazy, his face lit up because he was so happy to see us, and then he looked down and saw the board and he was instantly on it,” Levings said.

Learning to make the colourful wax pucks was a process of “trial and error,” according to Levings. He said the product is combination of regular wax, either coconut or canola oil and an oil-based dye.

“It’s quite time consuming, it takes like 10 minutes for each wax, and then you have to let it cool and then package it.”

Levings said he and his friends have tried to make other companies before, but nothing has taken off quite like this. Donny’s Wax is also producing stickers, t-shirts, and even creating its own commercials.

All three boys attend Clayburn Middle School. Michelle Watrin, a teacher of Levings, said she only found out about Donny’s Wax because of a class assignment where students write about what they’ve been doing through the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the school’s educational assistants have done a phenomenal job integrating students like Irvine into the classroom.

“I’m so proud, I’m so happy,” Watrin said. “For these two boys to have the opportunity to get to know a student like Donnie, and then build a relationship with him, it makes my heart so happy to see how it has changed Donnie’s life.”

Aside from being available for purchase in Replay Boardshop, Levings said orders can be made through the Donny’s Wax Instagram account.

“Just send us a direct message and we can send it or deliver it.”

RELATED: Canada’s Down syndrome community helps teach Google how to understand speech


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

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