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If the Shoe Fits...

Donation Will Help Kids With Lower-leg Braces

Parents think of many, many things when they bring their child to Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis for care of lower-leg issues: medical history, insurance information and snacks for the drive to and from.

Whether their child’s shoes will fit when the doctors and nurses are finished with their work usually isn’t one of them.

“If we fit a child with a brace, those braces are hard to get into a regular shoe,” said Darren Rottmann, manager for orthotics and prosthetics at the St. Louis Shriners Hospital. “Many times, parents will have to leave and go try to find a pair of wide shoes before they can take their child home. That’s a major inconvenience during an already trying time.”

It’s an inconvenience a donation from Zappos Adaptive aims to alleviate. The Las Vegas-based company recently sent a pallet of BILLY’S Footwear shoes – 285 pairs in various sizes and styles – to the St. Louis Shriners Hospital.

The BILLY’S Footwear shoes incorporate a zipper that goes along the side and around the toe. Because of that, the shoe opens and folds over completely to allow easy entrance for a foot surrounded by a brace.

Darren and Director of Rehabilitation Services Donna Griffin are looking forward to using the donation to bring smiles to the faces of kids – and their parents. “These are stylish,” Donna said. “The shoes we have received in the past were big and blocky. They looked very much like orthopaedic shoes.”

Fashion matching function is an important part of this line of shoes. “The design of these sneakers is not only fun, but it also provides a functional solution to make getting dressed easier,” said Dana Zumbo, business development manager for Zappos Adaptive “The shoes are a great step in the direction of fashion inclusivity for all.”

Darren and Donna aren’t sure how long this donation will last; it depends on the foot sizes of upcoming patients. But they both hope this is the beginning of a long-term relationship. 

Shoe cost is a hurdle for some Shriners Hospitals families. “You’re talking about $50 to $75 for a pair of new shoes,” Donna said. “That’s money a lot of our families would struggle to find. So we are really, really appreciative of this donation.” 

Zappos donated similar pallets to 16 other Shriners Hospitals locations across the country.

Zappos shoe

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