Shoe donation raises funds for dementia cure
Almost daily, 13-year-old Trent Napotnik lifts and hauls another 30-pound bag of sandals, loafers and boots to a trailer behind the Oxford Athletic Club in Pine.
A wall of shoe-filled bags, each containing 25 pairs, already sits inside.
“I like doing it because we're helping people,” the Pine teen said of his family's mission to collect 10,000 pairs of used shoes by August to help find a pharmaceutical cure for dementia.
Gary Napotnik, Trent's father, helps with the bags.
“We have about 90 bags,” said his wife, Hayley Jameson, Trent's mother. “We need about 400 bags.”
People can help by dropping off any new or worn footwear, including flip-flops and skates, through July in the lobby of Oxford Athletic Club.
For every pound of shoes collected, Clear Thoughts Foundation in Pine will get 40 cents from Orlando-based Funds2Orgs, a business that works with schools, churches, nonprofits and other groups to organize shoe drives as fundraisers.
Resourceful people in developing nations, such as Haiti, India and Uganda, ultimately will receive the shoes to refurbish and sell for profit.
“I love the fact that people can support Clear Thoughts without having to give a monetary donation,” said Jameson, co-founder of Clear Thoughts. “I think it's a great fundraiser because everybody has old shoes.”
Jameson and her brother, Matt Jameson of Hampton, formed the Clear Thoughts Foundation in 2010 to help researchers discover medicines to reverse dementia and to honor their late father, Donald M. “D.J.” Jameson Jr., a former U.S. Steel Corp. executive, who developed debilitating frontotemporal dementia and died on Christmas Day 2013.
In 2014, the Clear Thoughts Foundation awarded its inaugural Donald M. Jameson Jr. Fellowship — a $30,000 grant — to neuroscientist Dr. Roya DePasquale, formerly of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurology and Molecular Psychology.
The Clear Thoughts Foundation aims to award $1 million to an applicant for a clinical drug trial.
Trent's mother, a member of the Oxford Athletic Club, organized the shoe drive to benefit the Clear Thoughts Foundation after she donated footwear to a similar shoe drive staged last year at the club.
In the spring of 2015, people dropped off 10,575 pairs of shoes at the club to help multiple Pittsburgh-area charities. That shoe drive generated $4,000 through Funds2Orgs.
Deborah Deasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.