- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - The late Kenadi Jean Weis touched the lives of many while she was alive, and her legacy continues through a foundation named in her honor - and now, a unique boot by footwear company pediped, as well.

“Everyone who purchases the delightful Kenadi boot will receive a beautiful butterfly headband, a note in memory of Kenadi with information about the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, and a ‘Kolor for Kenadi’ butterfly pre-paid postcard to be colored and returned to the pediped office to create a wall in honor of Kenadi,” Lori Deibert, Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation board member and Kenadi’s grandma, said. Her granddaughter loved butterflies.

“For every butterfly returned to them (by Jan. 31, 2016), an extra dollar will be donated to Kenadi’s foundation. The butterflies will then be given to the family to keep forever.”

Kenadi Jean Weis, of Spearfish, passed away in 2014 at the age of 5, from infantile spasms, an age-dependent form of epilepsy often associated with an anoxic brain injury at birth. She inspired the creation of the Spearfish-based nonprofit Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation whose mission is “to assist all special needs children and their families achieve fulfilled lives through support, resources, respite care, volunteerism, and advocacy.”

Deibert first learned of doctor-recommended soft-soled pediped footwear, a company headquartered in Henderson, Nevada, while shopping at the former Little Me Boutique in downtown Spearfish in 2008. She bought her granddaughter a pair of the shoes, and from then on, Kenadi sported many styles of pedipeds, though she would likely never walk because of the traumatic brain injury at birth.

Deibert said she continuously heard compliments about the footwear, and she eventually contacted Angela Edgeworth, president and co-founder of pediped, to look into whether she would create a toddler size of oversized, lightweight shoe to fit Kenadi’s needs, the Black Hills Pioneer (https://bit.ly/1LwH8l2 ) reported. Shortly before her death, Kenadi received two pairs of one-of-a-kind footwear from pediped, created specifically for her.

“I sent a heartfelt thank you letter to Angela for their beautiful gift, along with Kenadi’s obituary informing pediped of her unexpected death,” Deibert said. “It wasn’t long after that when Angela asked if they could showcase Kenadi in their 10-year anniversary celebration, even naming an adorable chocolate brown boot with colorful detailed flowers on it after her - the Kenadi Boot!”

“We were so touched by her story that we wanted to honor Kenadi by naming a shoe after her,” Edgeworth said, describing that the flower design and bright colors on the boot are “playful and unique, just like Kenadi.”

Angela and Brian Edgeworth founded pediped in 2005 after their first daughter was born. Angela researched what kind of footwear would be best for her child and discovered that doctors recommended barefoot walking or soft leather sole shoes.

Because of the lack of options on the market, the couple launched their own line of footwear, and the company has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development. Awarded the 2015 Children’s Footwear Brand of the Year and Best Toddler Kicks in the Cribsie Awards and Best Children’s Shoes by Prima Baby Magazine, an Earnie Award for Best Footwear and Family Choice Award and first-place Reader Favorite Award from Baby & Children’s Product News in 2014, the company is one of the fastest growing children’s footwear brands in the U.S., offering more than 130 styles in newborn to youth sizes.

“Our hope is that this special boot will help the (Kenadi Jean Weis) Foundation in their efforts to help create a world of acceptance, love, and success for children of all abilities and their families,” Edgeworth said. “As a leading brand in the children’s footwear category, we hope by sharing Kenadi’s inspirational story with our consumers, that it may in turn help other families dealing with the challenges of special needs children.”

The boot was released this month and is available locally at The Wild Rose in Spearfish or at www.pediped.com.

“It was divine intervention when I stopped in one of my favorite shops in Spearfish, The Wild Rose, and found Tiara placing an order for pedipeds,” Deibert said. “She and Rose were always so kind to Kenadi when we visited their boutique . I mentioned that pediped had created the Kenadi Boot . and Tiara decided to carry it in their store.”

More information about the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation can be found at www.teamkenadi.com.

“We are honored to support Kenadi’s foundation and her family with this effort,” Edgeworth said. “She made an impression on us that we’ll never forget, so it’s our privilege to be able to call attention to her life while helping other deserving children and families.”

Deibert thanked everyone along the journey of creating the Kenadi Boot, especially the founders of pediped, “for their love, compassion and thoughtfulness for a little girl they never met, who touched their hearts” - and the way that their product will continue to help Kenadi’s legacy touch the hearts of others, to boot.


Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com

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