“The Big Idea”
Dunk Your Kicks was started in 2012 by David Plotkin, Chairman of The Max Cure Foundation. Since the foundation began, he has been driving awareness and raising money for pediatric cancer causes which includes research, along with helping low-income and military families in various states across the country during their financial struggle while their child is in active treatment. For years he has been brainstorming as to how best the foundation can drive revenues/donations to MCF without hosting lavish events or asking people to write “big checks”. Along his journey, he learned there are approximately 200 million pairs of sneakers which get thrown away each year, which ultimately end up in landfills. He was shocked to learn about the harm theses buried kicks do to the environment. Furthermore, he learned about the affordable clothing market, and the demand for gently used sneakers. He thought that with the right message and partners, he could create a national pediatric cancer campaign dedicated to the fight against the disease with added benefits, such as protecting the environment and providing affordable footwear to those who walk barefoot in the streets. And so, Dunk Your Kicks was born!
It is estimated that 200 million pairs of athletic shoes (Sneakers) are discarded in landfills in this country each year. The impact on the environment from the chemical breakdown of the Sneakers in the landfill over the years is significant. Sneakers consist of about 80% petroleum products, including adhesives and other by – products of petroleum. Scientists have opined that the Sneakers in the landfill will begin to break down into its chemical components after fifty years. Benzene and certain other of the chemical components have been identified as carcinogens. These chemicals inevitably find their way into ground water, the soil and the atmosphere. A majority of these sneakers still have plenty of life left in them, but instead they are buried alive.
It is estimated that 1 billion children live in poverty without access to basic necessities like shoes. That does not include the number of adults who go without shoes. By providing Sneakers to those in developing nations, the risk of certain diseases is reduced. Medical professionals have opined that wearing footwear greatly reduces the risk of diseases prevalent in developing countries where citizens often go barefoot (Podoconiosis; Schistosomiasis;Tungiasis; Hookworm; and Kaposi’s sarcoma). Footwear is important in order to reduce trauma and parasitic diseases that enter the bare foot. It is also important to minimize foot infections in the diabetic population and to lower the risk of the referenced diseases.
MCF uses the monies received from an international recycler to advance its mission to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer. Monies received goes towards its Roar Beyond Barriers program, which gives financial assistance to low- income and military families battling pediatric cancer who are on Medicaid, and who demonstrate the substantial need for financial help in obtaining the necessities of life. Also, monies is directed towards funding the development of less toxic treatments for children with the disease.
If you know a family or someone you feel the Roar Beyond Barriers program could help, or if you want to make a difference in your community and support others, please ask to start a collection or find a Dunk Your Kicks donation location near you.