COVID hits Humber student’s charitable skateboard business

Sep 17, 2020 | Business, COVID-19, News

Emma Stushnoff doing an ollie in an alley way.
Emma Stushnoff doing an ollie in an alley way. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, Stushnoff was building custom skateboards in her garage to raise money for charity. (Courtesy Emma Stushnoff)
Nathaniel Marksman

Emma Stushnoff, a second year student in the 3D animation program at Humber College, came up with a clever way to make money in her garage by creating skateboards called Diabetic Decks.

Her small business ran into problems when the pandemic broke out, ceasing the production of her boards.

“I stopped selling boards during COVID because it was difficult getting the boards to people around the city. And shipping costs have gone up,” she said.

Stushnoff was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age nine, prompting her to indulge in a variety of activities to keep her mind off the fact that she had a life changing disease.

She came up with the idea of creating skateboard decks with her own personal art on them at the age of 16, with the help of a high-school wood shop teacher.

“The original idea was to sell boards and give all the proceeds to diabetes charities, but the process is long and takes money to get the materials to make boards, but I’m still going to slowly try and get there,” she said.

Stushnoff said because of the COVID-19 outbreak she will use the time she has now to focus on school and her art in hopes of making skateboards again when the pandemic ends.

“On my Instagram, the last couple pieces I did, I was getting some good feedback and people seem to like the outcome of the boards, so I expect people to want more boards, especially when COVID ends,” Stushnoff told Humber News.

She admits that her efforts to raise money for diabetic charities has been tough since she works alone, but she is not the only one to have her ambitions slowed down because of the pandemic.

Tammy Johnson, director of the Ride to Conquer Cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, said that she noticed drop in donations since from the time COVID-19 had the world on quarantine.

“The Ride to Conquer Cancer has been known as the number one athletic peer to peer fund raiser in Canada, and the 2020 fund raising target pre COVID was $20 million, post COVID we were able to achieve $7 million,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Stushnoff hope that once the pandemic ends they can go back to helping out their communities in their own way.

Stushnoff said when she start selling skateboards again she wants to give all the money she earns to Diabetes Canada, knowing how hard it has been to raise funds.