Igor Vovkovinskiy of Minnesota, the tallest man in America, stands a little over seven feet eight inches. To help him walk, he’s had a 16 foot surgeries in the last three years — but the surgeries have left them residual pain and feet that fit no shoe in production. The 29-year-old relies mostly on a motorized wheelchair to get around his house, where he takes college courses online.
“Not having shoes has basically handicapped me partially,” he says. Vovkovinskiy, who suffers from a deeply embedded tumor on his pituitary gland, does own one pair of clogs, which have no traction or support and, he says, cause him even more pain.
He wrote to Reebok, which responded with a quote for a custom shoe mold: $15,000, plus the cost of transportation to Massachusetts. This means a business-class ticket, as he literally can’t fit in coach. With nowhere else to turn, he started a Facebook page and a fundraising site (“Tallest American Man Needs Shoes”) — and has raised nearly $40,000 — three fourths of it in the last week.
Incredible story, and Vovkovinskiy seems like a genuinely warm human being in spite of the cards he’s been dealt. We’d love to see him take a few pairs home from his trip to the Reebok factory — but it would be even better if the company found room in its heart to help this man walk at no cost to him.
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