Special shoes help young girl to walk again


Lowestoft Lions receive many requests for help and each is assessed on its merits. One such appeal, for costly specialist shoes, received favourable support and has now helped a young Lowestoft girl to walk.

Three-year-old Sapphire – Elysia Jasmine Saunders suffers from Hypermobility Syndrome and when Lowestoft Lions were made aware of her condition and what was needed to help her to walk, they decided they wanted to do something

Lion John Swatton said, “I went along to meet Sapphire’s parents, Stan  and Chloe who explained that the little girl was in pain most days, had extreme double jointedness and was prone to dislocation. She was only able to get around by shuffling along the floor on her bottom. Mrs Saunders told me that Sapphire needed shoes tailor made to give extra support.”

Mr. Swatton added “A company from the Netherlands called Piedro Shoes made high quality orthopaedic footwear, which would help Sapphire by holding and supporting the foot in the correct anatomical position within the shoe. The NHS had initially funded this footwear but with Sapphire needing a new pair every three months they were unable to continue. This is where the Lions stepped in and agreed to pay for the special shoes for the next twelve months. The difference they have made is incredible.”

Mrs Saunders said that Lowestoft Lions also bought a special pushchair buggy, costing £450, for Sapphire. Her fragile health means she needs a buggy that can be adjusted to give better body support in specific areas. The best exercise for Sapphire is swimming, as the water takes her weight and helps her condition. The family has no transport so the twice-weekly visits to the Waveney Sports Centre swimming pool are now more comfortable for Sapphire by using the buggy.

On Easter Sunday Sapphire was able to join in with other children andtake part in the Lions Easter Egg Trail at Sparrow’s Nest Gardens. Lion President Derek Ward said, “It was a joy to see Sapphire wearing her special shoes and actually walking across the grass. It costs £125 to buy each pair of special footwear but it is money well spent when you see the progress that Sapphire has made.”