Surestep Donations In Action

by Aculbertson

Candice lives thousands of miles from home.

As a pediatric physical therapist, she goes where kids need her. By combining this with her love of travel, she’s spent three years working with military families in Japan. Now a new adventure is beginning.

Along with her husband Patrick, Candice recently moved to Vietnam. She works for The Kianh Foundation, a nonprofit that provides education and therapy to children with special needs.

But she didn’t arrive emptyhanded. At the expense of some clothing space in her suitcase, Candice brought Surestep AFOs and SMOs that had been donated by parents. Along with the physical therapy, they help kids in need.

Life in rural Vietnam begins the same way every day. A neighbor’s rooster crows. That’s Candice’s alarm clock. The first thing she and Patrick do is throw open all the doors and windows. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps fight the heat. Then they walk across the street to buy farm fresh eggs for breakfast.

Her first appointment of the day is at 8:00. Getting there is anything but a leisurely commute. Her motorbike kicks up dirt as she travels for 20 minutes down a bumpy road.

Six-year-old Tien is there to meet her. He has no official diagnosis, but clearly faces challenges. Tien has increased tone in his feet, he overpronates, and he struggles to dorsiflex, which means he can’t point his feet upwards.

In addition to providing physical therapy, she fitted Tien with a donated pair of Surestep Pullover AFOs. The braces help him by:

  • Aiding with dorsiflexion
  • Improving his heel strike
  • Providing extra stability

The video below shows an excited Tien receiving his AFOs for the first time.

After her hour with Tien, Candice’s day fills up quickly. Between training other physical therapists and helping with a variety of kids, she stays busy.

Low muscle tone limits Bao’s mobility. This is her first time wearing Surestep SMOs. Right now, she’s working on standing and weight shifting.

Lunchtime at The Kianh Foundation. In Vietnam, it’s very common for both kids and adults to take a nap afterward.

Cerebral palsy makes walking difficult for Quyen. Thankfully, she has both AFOs and Velcro sandals. Kids in Vietnam often go barefoot, which makes wearing orthotics a challenge.

Phong has very low tone. But Surestep SMOs help him weight shift and keep his feet in proper alignment.

Long, exhausting days have become a normal part of Candice’s life. And the results of her hard work aren’t always apparent to the naked eye. But she measures success differently than most people. For her, it’s simply about being in a place to help others. Emotional. Physical. Financial. Our days are filled with fractions of time in which we can lift people up. “I recognize that these moments of ability may come and go,” Candice said. “But we should all practice living a life of serving others.”


How Can I Donate?

You can pay it forward by donating orthotics your child has outgrown. We can’t promise they’ll be sent to Vietnam, but there are kids in need all over the world.

Please write “donation” on the box and send it to:

Attn: Julie

Hearts in Motion

2210 US-41

Schererville, IN 46375

Learn more about donating