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Amputee Builds a Community Through Her Shoe-Swapping Page

Mar 1, 2023 |

Jo O'Callaghan on the right

After having her right foot amputated in November 2019, Jo O’Callaghan, like many amputees, was left with a pile of shoes she could no longer wear. Due to her diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome and allodynia, she is unable to wear a prosthesis comfortably. Her story was recently told in an article by the New York Post. This lifestyle change prompted Jo to find a solution for her unused shoe problem, and so an online shoe exchange was born. 

Jo created her Facebook page, Jo’s Odd Shoes, to match single shoes with other amputees who could use them. “It started with me just trying to get rid of my 20-odd right shoes,” she said. But just like the pile of shoes in her closet, the number of page users began to grow by the day. Since it launched, the group has taken off and expanded to nearly 3,500 people. 

To swap an unwanted shoe, the user must upload a photo, indicate whether it is for the left or right foot, and include the shoe size. More than simply pairing shoes with new owners, the page has become a community for amputees in all stages of their limb loss journey. 

Through the page, Jo said, she met a man who hadn’t worn shoes in years due to constant pain, but now he gets tons of shoes and his grandchildren even call him “trendy.” For Jo, it’s about more than just shoes; it’s about building connections and making others feel good. 

Join the growing community if you have an odd shoe that needs a home or you’re just looking for your new favorite shoe.