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You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.

— Publilius Syrus, 1st century BC Rome

Amputees Beyond Life's Expectations, or A.BL.E., is holding its annual Fishing Day 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8 at Lake Valencia, 1 Lake Point Place, Maumelle. The event is open to everyone.

It's free and there is no need for a fishing license. Lawn chairs are welcome. There will be a fishing contest, games, face painting, a bounce house, food and drinks.

In the event of bad weather, the rain date will be June 15, same place and time.

A.B.L.E. is a nonprofit made of people who have made it their mission to empower others affected by limb loss. A.B.L.E. offers education, training and support, and hosts monthly peer support-group meetings for amputees and their loved ones. A.B.L.E. also sponsors fundraising efforts for amputees who cannot afford prosthetic devices.

For a schedule of meetings, all of which are on Mondays, go to For information or to make a donation, call "Moe" Heidenthal at (501) 246-6413, Jack Causey at (501) 940-2606 or Allan D. McElhaney at (501) 551-6102.


I have written before about my troubled right foot and problems I have with a bulky foot brace. I also had an amputation of the little toe on that foot. I have managed to cope and I don't notice it that much — unless I take my shoe off and see only four toes.

Many amputees experience some difficulty with mobility and the constant reminder that something is missing. Something that they won't get back.

Thankfully there are prosthetics and other devices that can help make life a bit better.

With my brace, I have a shoe issue. I had to go up a size for that right foot to accommodate the brace. But of course my left foot needs a shoe one size smaller. I make do and wear extra socks.

There are people born with different size feet who deal with this situation from a young age. Imagine buying multiple pairs of shoes to fit different-size feet for children who outgrow things at what seems like the speed of light.

If you are an amputee with only one leg or foot, you may only need the one shoe, unless you have a prosthetic with a foot and you need both.

I ran across information about the National Odd Shoe Exchange ( It's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is a "source of footwear for those requiring single shoes or pairs of differing sizes." It is made possible by financial donations and support.

The exchange was founded in St. Louis in 1943 by Ruth Rubin-Feldman as a support for polio survivors like herself. She had feet of significantly different sizes. When wartime rationing made buying two sizes even more difficult, she conceived the idea of a shoe exchange service. People with similar problems could register their names and sizes. The registry put people with similar interest and tastes but opposite foot sizes in touch. They could buy the footwear and share the cost.

At the time, many veterans were coming home as amputees so the organization broadened its scope and was no longer disease specific.

The stated purpose of the organization is about more than just the feet, though. It encompasses:

Quality of life. Properly fitted footwear is critical to general health and well being, and can often prevent worsening conditions.

Dignity. No one should have to endure the indignity and embarrassment of ill-fitting footwear.

Respect. No one should have to pay for something that is not needed or wanted simply to get the footwear they require.

To register with the National Odd Shoe Exchange, send a brief letter stating your sizes and restrictions to P.O. Box 1120, Chandler, AZ 85244. Donations of any kind can be sent to the same address. They accept new, unworn and undamaged shoes, boots, socks, inserts and laces too.

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Style on 05/20/2019

Print Headline: Odd Shoe Exchange network helps amputees


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