Why are Supershoes so special?
Each pair of shoes is designed specifically for a particular child or young person with a diagnosis of cancer, and hand-painted by a Super Artist to capture that child and all their favourite things: games, sports team, music, animals, colours, tv programmes. They love it; we paint it! The end product is a pair of Supershoes as unique as the child or young person that wears them. They are a constant reminder to that child of who they are, beyond their illness, challenges and treatment. Here’s what our Super brave children and their families tell us about their Supershoes:
- They encourage mobility – because who wouldn’t want to get up and show off their mini-masterpieces?
- They promote wellbeing – the smiles speak for themselves! Imagine all your favourite things all together on a pair of shoes you can wear every day!
- They remind the child of who they are and the things that they love. Those personal things become so important when you’re fighting a tough battle, and it doesn’t get much tougher than cancer.
- They make the child feel special and strong and help to restore their confidence. Younger children feel as if they have superpowers when they wear their Supershoes.
How can I get Supershoes for my child?
Your child is eligible for a one-off gift of a pair of Supershoes if resident in the UK (including Channel Islands) and currently in treatment for cancer. Supershoes are currently available for children and young people up to the age of 18, as we have temporarily suspended referrals for 19-24 year old at this time. Supershoes accepts referrals only from our trusted partners: Young Lives Vs Cancer - LATCH (in Wales). Please contact your relevant support worker who will have the necessary forms and will complete them for you. If you don’t have a Young Lives Vs Cancer Support Worker, please contact the Young Lives Vs Cancer, Central Team on 0300 303 5220 who will arrange the referral, even if you have opted not to have a service with Young Lives vs Cancer.
How did Supershoes come to be?
The very first pair of Supershoes was created in October 2013 for an incredibly brave four-year-old boy called Henry Allen. Henry was fighting Neuroblastoma: a particularly aggressive cancer that mostly affects mostly under-fives. Ken and Sarah White, read about Henry in their local paper and wanted to find a way to help him to feel super special. They decided on a pair of customised shoes, which they named Supershoes.
Henry’s Supershoes were created based on Henry’s love of lions, Lego and Disney’s Lightning McQueen. Henry loved his Supershoes and this simple but unique gift created a special moment of joy for Henry’s parents. This moment is now a precious memory for his family, as devastatingly, Henry lost his brave fight with cancer a week later.
Photographs of Henry’s shoes were placed on a simple Facebook page (SupershoesUK) and 8000 people viewed them within 48 hours. Requests for special customised Supershoes came flooding in from parents throughout the UK for their own poorly children. The charity Supershoes was born, founded by Ken and Sarah.
Fast-forward nine years, and Supershoes is proud to count Young Lives Vs Cancer (formerly CLIC Sargent) as an official partner who refer children to us. Schuh, the high street retailer, has been helping us reach more children since 2014 and Converse more recently.
Supershoes is a volunteer-led organisation. The talented and selfless people who form our incredible team include over 300 Super Artists, 10 Super Admin Volunteers and 6 Super Terrific Trustees.
Registered Charity Number 1163157