Kick off your old sneakers to help kick childhood cancer

By: Kristyne E. Demske, | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 12, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Nearly a decade ago, the Max Cure Foundation was begun when a small boy was diagnosed with stage 4 B-cell lymphoma the day before his fourth birthday. 

“Max is considered a nine-year cancer survivor now,” said Erica Bailey, program and marketing director of the Max Cure Foundation. 

The foundation funds research, including a laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where Max was first treated. Through the Dunk Your Kicks initiative, it also provides low-income and military families with monthly monetary support when their child is in active treatment for cancer. 

 Athletic shoes and sneakers are being collected at Foot Solutions on Harper for the Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign.

Athletic shoes and sneakers are being collected at Foot Solutions on Harper for the Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

“We ask people to donate their gently used sneakers. They get recycled as affordable footwear in developing nations (that) don’t have access to or can’t afford proper footwear,” Bailey said. 

For every pair of sneakers donated, the Max Cure Foundation gets $1. The foundation is currently supporting 47 families across the country, and so far has raised more than $540,000 to help 120 families at 26 hospitals in 17 states.

And you can help right here in St. Clair Shores.

Joe Dyament, who owns Foot Solutions, 21213 Harper Ave., with his wife, Diane, said they are always looking for ways to support the community. When the business was contacted by the Max Cure Foundation about participating in the Dunk Your Kicks initiative and being a collection site, Dyament said he thought it was a great fit.

He said they have held fundraisers before for Grace Centers of Hope, collecting more than 1,200 pairs of shoes for the Pontiac organization to sell through its resale center. The fact that the athletic shoes and sneakers collected for the Dunk Your Kicks initiative are given to people in need in other countries is a great benefit not only for the Max Cure Foundation, but for the environment.

“It’s helping our planet; it’s keeping all these used sneakers out of landfills,” he said.

Dyament said they’re looking for shoes that still have some use left in them, though, since they will be used. 

The store will accept donations in its collection bin through the end of April. Foot Solutions is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.

“For an initial push, our goal is to get 1,000 pairs and get them off to Max Cure,” he said. “The donations are going to go to a really good cause, and hopefully it’ll help out in research and help keep our landfills a little cleaner.”

Bailey said there are currently 390 donation locations for the Dunk Your Kicks campaign across the country. Sneakers and athletic shoes, she said, take more than 50 years to even start breaking down in a landfill because they are 80 percent petroleum-based. About 200 million pairs of sneakers are thrown away each year, and Bailey said that most of those shoes still have “life left in them.” 

“When people can just go and recycle their used sneakers while helping children who are battling cancer, it’s a win-win. It’s a no-brainer,” she said. 

For more information, visit maxcurefoundation.org, dunkyourkicks.org, footsolutions.com/stclairshores or call (586) 552-3668.