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If Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change a life, then Medical Assistant Shannon Coe is on to something big. Converse, Van’s and Nikes are all part of her canvas. Stilettos have been known to get some love too.
Coe’s hobby is embellishing the shoes with studs, Swarovski stones, and other colorful gems – creating one-of-a-kind foot adornment. When people wear her kicks more often than not, they watch others making shoe contact before eye contact. These are no ordinary cruisers. But while Coe loves the craft, she also uses her talent to walk in someone else’s shoes.
She has bling’d out a pair of burgundy sneakers (burgundy is the color for Myeloma Support) and pink high tops (pink is the color for Breast Cancer Support) – both donated to fundraising events. Her burgundy high tops will be part of the auction at September 16th Miles for Myeloma dinner celebration and educational symposium for patient and their families. The event started with IU Health hematology and oncology doctor Rafat Abonour. Since 2005, Dr. Abonour and his fellow cyclists have covered more than 2,400 miles and raised more than $3.3 million for myeloma. The end of the bike trek is celebrated with a dinner and an auction. Coe’s shoe contribution helps with the fundraising effort.
She is in the process of designing a pair for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. It will be her second donation to the cause.
Coe and her husband have a blended family of seven children and it was an 18th birthday party of one of the girls that “kicked off” Coe’s hobby.
“I saw this amazing pair of bejeweled pink Converse that I wanted to give to my stepdaughter for her birthday but when I asked someone to make them for me it was going to be $175,” said Coe, who has been IU Health for nearly four years. So she bought the shoes, the glue and the supplies and made them herself. A Harley-Davidson rider, Coe wanted a different pair with spikes to match her riding jacket. She made those too.
In the past year she has designed 26 pair of stylish shoes ranging from dainty infant slippers to canvas adult lace ups. She buys a lot of the shoes on sale but if a fan is partial to a particular color, she can start with their personal choice.
“I love design. I’m always doing home interior and I love to wear weird and wild stuff,” said Coe, 37. “It’s a great way to relieve stress but it’s also a great way to give back. My worst day isn’t anything to what some of my patients have. It’s nice to know I can do a little something to help a cause.”
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.