Sunshine Foundation

Confidence at her feet

Monday, November 19, 2018

We can all relate to the feeling of wearing a cool new pair of shoes. The right pair can feel like you’re floating above the ground (perhaps even doing the moonwalk)! Not only are they comfortable, but people notice your new style choice and the statement you’re choosing to make: confidence, athletic ability, sophistication and more.

Now imagine being a seventeen-year-old living in ill-fitting shoes every single day, for every life event. Between going to school, to playing sports, to a piano recital, or a day on the beach – for Mikayla it felt like a proper and stylish pair of shoes would never be possible. Ever since she was a little girl, she dreamed of having the kinds of shoes other girls her age could choose: like sandals or tall boots. Shoes that truly represented her unique personality.

Living with Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism that causes chronic pain in her back and feet, Mikayla had to wear shoes that were 2-3 sizes too big. Her shoes were therefore too long, clumsy, and uncomfortable, becoming a constant drain to her confidence.

Dreaming of a pair of shoes was beyond her imagination until Mikayla’s mom suggested she ask
The Sunshine Foundation of Canada for a customized pair. Over the course of a year, Mikayla worked with a specialized shoemaker to complete five pairs of one-of-a-kind, hand-stitched footwear perfectly moulded to her feet with room for orthotic insoles to help reduce her back pain.

“I really can’t describe how amazing it is to see her confidently heading out the door in her new leather boots or her dressy red shoes,” her mom explains. “The extra weight of self-consciousness and discomfort that came each time she put on her old shoes is now a distant memory.”

For the first time in 17 years, Mikayla has choices and shoes that actually fit! She now has ankle boots, knee high boots, red wedge heels, sandals, and black dress shoes in her closet. Every morning, she is excited to wake up and match her shoes to her outfit: jeans with ankle boots, or tights with knee-highs.

Mikayla’s new shoes are more than just an accessory. Finding a pair that match her personality became a jolt of energy. Not only do they help relieve her pain, but they also improved her fashion game, make a statement, and show the world that she embodies confidence. She walks with her head held high through every new doorway with one less obstacle to face.

“I feel like I’m walking on a cloud. Sometimes, I forget I’m even wearing them. […] My dream was always for shoes […] and I am thankful to everyone who made it possible.”- Mikayla. 

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Mikayla's Red Shoes

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