Last weekend, I did something joyful. I delivered the 1000th pair of Supershoes!
When Ken and I started Supershoes, we set ourselves a goal: to deliver one pair of Supershoes a week: 52 a year. And now I’ve just delivered our 1000th pair! So, we’ve somehow managed to squash 20 years’ work into 3 years! How can that have happened?
Back in the early days, I used to deliver lots of pairs of Supershoes myself. I did it because I wanted to. I often delivered to addresses local to me. I also delivered to hospitals, such as Great Ormond Street and Birmingham, where I met with the great teams from CLIC Sargent and other referring support workers. I was privileged to meet Super-brave children and their families on a regular basis, and I loved doing it. But I don’t get to be a postie very often these days, and delivering the 1000th pair got me reflecting on just how far we’ve come and how things have changed over the past 3 years.
As time’s gone by, and relationships with our referring partners have gone from strength to strength, we’ve seen demand for Supershoes escalate faster than we could have ever predicted. This is all good. What it means though, is that I’ve had to spend more time in the office than before. And what I miss is the face-to-face contact with our Super-brave children and their families. I speak on the phone every single day to parents with poorly children, and we have some lovely chats, but it’s not quite the same as being right there with them.
So, with that in mind, I was so thrilled to meet with eight-year-old Reo at the weekend, and hand him his Supershoes. Once you’ve had direct contact like this, it makes everything we do more real, more special, and, yes, sadder in a way.
These are real people, whose lives are turned upside down by a diagnosis of cancer. They must cope not only with a sick child, but with their siblings too, if they have them, and Reo has 3. They need to deal with all that “life stuff” that most of us manage well enough, but we don’t have a very sick child to look after too, thank goodness.
When you sit in an office, processing shoe orders, contacting Super Artists, answering emails, dealing with administrative issues, posting on social media, writing press releases, there’s a danger that you could lose sight of the very important reason we’re doing what we do. It’s about children, real little people and their families, fighting the biggest fight of their lives, dealing with all the highs and lows.
We must never lose sight of that reality, and I, for one, havTe no intention of doing so. I’m off to get my hi-vis on! I’ll be on the road a bit more from now on.
Until next time, with peace, love and gratitude