Lori Watson shares her challenges

"The idea for developing KeepingPace started in the Intensive Care Unit for newborns. "

In 1995 my son William was born with a life-long debilitating condition, cerebral palsy.  Like any parent, I had dreams for him.  Unfortunately, these dreams had to be set aside while I focused on ways to help my son cope with his disability.  There were doctor's visits, evaluations, therapies, educational considerations, personal family struggles, and normal daily challenges.  And then there was the ever-present question that constantly rang in my head:  Why does this happen and how can we prevent this from happening to others?  Fortunately, in a visit to the Boston Children's Hospital I was invited to tour the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit attended by Dr. Volpe and Dr. duPlessis from the Neurology Department.

The images from this visit will never leave me.  As anyone who has had a child in the Intensive Care Unit knows, this is one of the most difficult experiences a parent has to deal with.  I was able to visit the Intensive Care Unit with a new goal in mind:  a philanthropic mission which would allow me to focus on helping others.  With support from other parents, we were able to work with an incredible team of people who donated time, money and shared personal connections.  Finally, in 2002, we raised enough funds to call ourselves a research program, "The Lifebridge Program".

Empowered by the success at Lifebridge, this journey led me to create KeepingPace.  In November of 2002, during a visit to my son's orthotist, I became frustrated that the new shoes I had purchased were the wrong size for his new braces.  In a somewhat off-handed remark, I stated I was going to have molds made for William's foot which would allow for the required extra depth, a cut-line for leg length discrepancy, a durable toe-cap and much more.  The orthotist encouraged me to meet a specialty footwear design team in Salem, MA.  One conversation led to another, and before long, a strategic partnership was developed between SoleTech and KeepingPace.

With proceeds from our sales, KeepingPace will be donating financial resources to fund research programs.  Today, KeepingPace is run by parents of children with special needs.  Supporting our team are orthotists, specialty footwear designers, friends and family.  It is because of their skills and encouragement that KeepingPace thrives today.