Pedorthics Program Helps Fulfill Teen’s Wish

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By Doreen White
Adam Dunaway.  Photos courtesy of René Bowen.
Adam Dunaway. Photos courtesy of René Bowen.

Fourteen-year-old Adam Dunaway has dreams that come true. He envisions playing football some day--maybe even for his favorite team, the Auburn University Tigers. If that doesn't work out, a better fit may be stepping into Coach Tommy Tuberville's shoes on the sidelines.

Stepping into any pair of shoes with a proper fit had been a dream of this 6' 4" tall Tiger fan for the past three years. Due to the onset of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the Brandon, Mississippi, high-school freshman had settled for shoes that were much too long in order to fit the width of his feet. Adam hasn't walked for five years. Presently he uses a wheelchair. However, "this too shall pass," believes Adam, who hopes to become a preacher.

Adam believes this because, as he sees his smaller hopes realized, he grows ever more certain of the fulfillment of his greater, more challenging dreams. That's what motivated Wish Coordinator Jayme Paus of Kids Wish Network and Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee Pedorthics Instructor Bill Meanwell, CPed, to grant a few of Adam's little wishes.

Kids Wish Network is a nonprofit organization, based in Oldsmar, Florida, that builds relationships with children who have life-threatening illnesses. The network helps grant wishes and fulfill dreams of medically qualified children.

"Adam's primary wish was a new pair of shoes and some clothes," said Jayme. "He needed shoes that fit properly." Jayme contacted Terry Abeles, CPed, in Ridgeland, Mississippi. "Mr. Abeles served as a conduit between local podiatrist Dr. Harold Crowder and OSU-Okmulgee's Pedorthics Technology Program," Jayme continued. "Crowder made casts of Adam's feet and wrote a pedorthic prescription, and OSU-Okmulgee donated materials and craftsmanship for a custom-made pair of shoes."

OSU-Okmulgee's associate degree-granting program generates professional technicians qualified to fill pedorthic prescriptions that ease patient suffering and prevent many foot conditions from worsening. Pedorthic technicians fit and modify shoes and related foot appliances as prescribed.

Pedorthics Technology student Melissa Ferguson, Sperry, Oklahoma, made Adam's shoes as a class project. "This was the most heartwarming assignment," said Ferguson. "Meeting a special need for a special child gives me a sense of accomplishment that goes beyond explanation."

Melissa Ferguson
Melissa Ferguson

To round out Adam's wish, he was given a shopping spree at Wal-Mart in Richland, Mississippi, and two new football games for his Playstation 2. Jayme learned Adam also wanted to watch "good" television shows "without having to listen to cussing." Adam's idea of good programming is watching various religiously oriented shows, so Jayme arranged for Adam to receive a lifetime subscription to a religious satellite network, along with a donated 18" satellite dish, a receiver, and free installation from Dish Media in Brandon, Mississippi. He also received a stereo.

Adam's mother, René Bowen, describes him as a man of faith, full of joy and mischief, as he deals daily with the challenges of his condition.

For more information about Kids Wish Network, visit www.kidswishnetwork.com For more information about the OSU-Okmulgee Pedorthics Technology Program, visit www.osu-okmulgee.edu/sbo/pedorthics.shtml.