Every year my oldest daughter picks out the same pair of tangerine sandals. This is a shot I took with my iPhone when we were down in Florida. I remember tweeting it, and I was gratified when @Keen retweeted a shot that showcased their brand. We came home not long after this picture was taken, and my daughter spent five days at Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee over the Fourth of July during 2012 after lab work that was done on Tuesday, July 3rd came back abnormal.
My daughter hadn’t been feeling well on Monday. She had been limping and listless since we had gotten back from vacation. I’m a chronic worrier, but after two weeks of her not being herself I decided to take her in to see her pediatrician. He said that he was going to order labs just to rule out any type of infection, and I remember her bewilderment when we explained that she couldn’t have anything to eat or drink in case she had to have emergency surgery.
I never expected an osteomyletitis diagnosis when I took her in, I knew something was wrong, intuition told me that, but I didn’t know what it was. As a mom with a footwear background I had examined her foot carefully. We couldn’t find anything wrong with it until her pediatrician had her turn over, and I saw the swelling behind her heel. Jill came home with a PICC line in her arm, and for the next month her meds went through there.
Osteomyletitis used to be an untreatable condition. People lost limbs and extremities until science discovered that antibiotics could be used to attack the infection. Although they did a needle biopsy, the culture was inconclusive so we still don’t know how she picked up the bug, or which microbe was residing in two of her bones. Today she’s a petite twelve and a half year old with two feet that work, but had I ignored her foot when others told me that it was growing pains, we might have had a different story.
Which leads me to what I’m doing here. I’ve written about the tremendous outpouring of support I received from the Twitter community when I tweeted that Jill was going to Children’s Hospital. My account wasn’t new, but I wasn’t the most active or impressive tweeter back then. I knew a few baseball fans, and that was pretty much it. They were encouraging, they were there for us, and when your child is critically ill, your priorities change dramatically. You don’t care about paying bills or showering; you want food, sleep, and peace of mind that the medical experts aren’t giving you.
Saberfeet started when my passion for health, safety, baseball, and feet collided. I’d love to say that I have the answers, but the truth is, I have more questions than I do information for people who are coming to me for advice. Saberfeet is a company that asks tough questions because life isn’t easy, and I’m not going to pretend like it is. The good news is that we don’t have to face situations alone, and what you’re seeing right now is the culmination of thousands of hours of frustration, a couple people who believe in me and what I’m doing, and someone who signed me up for this account.
No one taught me how to shop for shoes when I was in school. When I started selling shoes, no one told me that I had the power to ruin feet. The very people I trusted sold me shoes that were more than two sizes too large for my two differently sized feet. I wore them until I developed severe swelling because they were the experts, and I didn’t question my discomfort. That was my experience, but fortunately, it doesn’t have to be yours.
What can you expect from Saberfeet?
1. You have the right to be treated with dignity.
2. You have the right to comfort, and only you can decide what feels good to you.
3. Saberfeet wants your shoes to fit. That’s why we measure, but since shoe fitting is art kissing science, there is a time and a place to abandon conventional wisdom. We’ll discuss that with you if you happen to be someone who needs that type of a consultation.
4. Saberfeet may not be right for you, and that’s okay. Our primary goal is education. We’d like to think that we have something for everyone, even if it’s a smile because we believe that genuine smiles are far too rare.
5. Saberfeet can work with any budget, but you have to be willing to share your budget with us. No one should be denied resources or education simply because their footwear budget is zero. We don’t have any money either, but we don’t worry about that since money is just a tool, and we have plenty of other tools to work with in our box.
Saberfeet isn’t here to make money. That might not be the smartest business plan ever, but Saberfeet is a crusade. We’re on a quest to see if we can learn whether Tommy John is a preventable surgery, and as we go, we’ll be collecting information from the feet and people that we’re working with. Saberfeet has a theory that a certain percentage of injuries occur because people are wearing shoes that fail to meet their individual support needs, and since people haven’t been taught how to select footwear, or purchase it as a system, they need the type of education that Saberfeet provides.
So now you know more about me, and why I decided to found this company. My hope is that everyone will share what we’re doing so that baseball as a sport is a safer option for everyone, from the ground, straight up to the mound. Thanks for stopping by, please visit again because just like baseball games don’t end when the shot clock stops, Saberfeet won’t stop working until we’re satisfied that your shoes fit, and you’re ecstatic with the way that they feel.
Until next time,
Saberfeet founder, mother, and full time baseball lover
P.S. The title of this post is a lie. I didn’t really figure anything out. I just took an idea and ran with it. People told me that I needed corporate shoe sponsorship, a medical degree, scientific proof that measuring feet reduces injuries, and an employee at a large footwear company told me that I was living in a dream world when I told him that I thought athletes should be measured and fitted for standard issue cleats, however he also agreed that it was the right thing to be doing.
I took the title of this post from Tommy John’s Twitter feed, and hopefully he’ll understand why I did that.
Saberfeet: Will we ever stop asking why?