From left, nursing students Mary Margret Davis, of Greenwood; Summer Mayson, of Johnston; Heather Rampey, of Greenville; Katie Pruitt, of Abbeville; Kristin Smith, of Gaffney; Mary Haley Bright, of Hodges; and Cornelia Barmore, of Donalds, strike a pose during Lander University's recent "Day Without Shoes."
Lander University's third annual "Day Without Shoes," sponsored by the Department of Nursing, was a big success, with nearly half the university's 200 nursing students taking part.
The event is part of the national Day Without Shoes, begun four years ago by American entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS Shoes, as a way of raising awareness of the plight of the many people around the world who have no shoes.
Mycoskie was troubled by the situation in Ethiopia, where an estimated million people suffer from podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil. During a trip to a part of Argentina, where shoes were likewise in short supply, he got the idea for a company that would not only give away a pair of shoes for every pair sold, but personally place them on the recipient's feet.
Since 2006, TOMS, a name which evolved from "Shoes for Tomorrow Project," has given away more than a million pairs of shoes, with many going to children in Africa, central America and South America.
Lander assistant professor of nursing Rebecca Cox-Davenport, who started the local Day Without Shoes three years ago, called Mycoskie's idea "an amazing premise for a shoe company." She agreed with the founder of TOMS that "there are millions whose lives could be bettered and suffering eased just by getting shoes."
Cox-Davenport believes that Lander's version of Day Without Shoes helped the students who took part "gain a little bit of empathy" for less fortunate people. She was encouraged by the number of students who participated in the event, and added, "I'm hoping next year it gets even bigger."