This week I want to talk about something that has made a big difference in my level of independence. It’s not directly related to travel, but it could be the difference between being able to get around on your own and needing some sort of help.
About a year or so ago a friend of mine sent me article about a kid with cerebral palsy who was planning on leaving for college and wanted to live independently. The only thing keeping him from doing so was his ability to put on his shoes. He probably could’ve found some orthopedic shoes with Velcro that he was able to manage, but being 18 and probably a little insecure he wanted something that you wouldn’t find at a nursing home. So this kid took it upon himself to write letters to the president of Nike asking for help. Amazingly, the company responded in a tremendous way. They worked with this kid to design a shoe that worked for him. Now they are available through the Nike website. The shoes are not cheap, but I am able to get them on and fastened with the use of only one arm and limited mobility in one leg. The shoes provide excellent ankle support, so I am able to walk in them without any bracing. I don’t walk well enough in them to really be independent doing it, but well enough to get on a plane or into a car , which makes a huge difference.
The other day, while I was at adaptive waterskiing, I met an eighteen year old kid who is leaving for college in the fall. I think he suffered from muscular dystrophy or possibly cerebral palsy or some other neurologic disorder. When he spotted my shoes and his mom witnessed me putting them on myself they were immediately curious. I told him how great they had been for me and offered to let him try to put them on himself. It took some effort, like it did for me at first, but he was eventually able to get hem on. Hopefully they will make a difference to his independence at school next year.
The ones I wear are Nike Zoom LeBron Solider 9 Flyease. However the Flyease (zipper) technology is now available in other style. This one has the high top that works best for me. However if ankle support is not an option then other styles are available. It is the zipper technology that makes this shoe such a success for me.