“The Case of the New Shoes” – 1st Place Winner, 10th Annual Essay Contest

By Sandra Kisselback

The case of the new shoes

After reading about the theme of this year’s essay contest, I started thinking about all of the wonderful acts of kindness that have been bestowed on me by the many professionals in my corner while I’ve been living with kidney disease. One stellar act hit me like a lightning bolt. Remember this:

Brenda = the shining star……….Shoes = smile, happy, fun, fun!

My journey with kidney disease began in 1992. From the very beginning, I’ve had a top-notch cast of health care providers to work with. One of the very first people I met was Brenda Cassidy, a social worker. My parents and I attended an informational meeting that told us what to expect as we entered the world of dialysis. Brenda was the speaker. After that meeting, my health challenges continued, but the only constant was my nephrologist.

Fast forward through peritoneal dialysis (1994), transplantation (1994-2006), peritoneal dialysis again (2006 -2007), and finally home hemodialysis. I ran into Brenda Cassidy again in 2007, but the shoes didn’t enter the picture until 2012, a full 20 years after I first met her.

So what about the shoes? My financial situation hasn’t been the greatest since 2008. My shoes were old, ragged, and worn and were starting to come apart at the seams. Shoes weren’t high on my list of things to spend money on. While it was embarrassing to go to the doctor and the clinic wearing this wretched pair of shoes, I just couldn’t afford to buy another pair. Brenda apparently noticed.

While I was at the clinic for a routine matter, in she walked with a big smile on her face and an envelope in her hand. “We have an envelope for you with $50 in it. I noticed your shoes at our last office visit, and we wanted you to be able to dance in style.” WOW!!!! Thank you, Brenda!

I was dumbfounded at the generosity and compassion represented by this one small (but to me enormous) act of kindness. The tears flowed as I accepted this heartfelt gift coming from a special group of people who cared for me above and beyond my medical status. Wearing my new shoes to the next clinic visit put a bounce in my step. Truthfully, whenever I wear those shoes, a newfound confidence comes over me. I’m no longer embarrassed by my footwear. Thank you to Brenda Cassidy, a health care professional and a true shining star who had a major role in the case of the new shoes…smile, happy, fun, fun!

About the Author
Sandra L. Kisselback was diagnosed with kidney disease in November 1992 and received a living donor transplant from her brother, Brian, on Halloween 1994.  That transplant lasted until September 2006 and now Sandra dialyzes right at home which she says she feels blessed to do.  She’s a graduate of Oneonta State and Russell Sage colleges, both of which are located in New York State. Sandra enjoys reading, blogging, tennis, walking the pups, gardening and working in the family’s Sawmill business.