LANSING, Mich. — For seven years, Geronmio Lerma has been making sure people in need have shoes on their feet.
Now Lerma finds himself in need, so the Lansing community is stepping up to give him a hand.
“There are lots of great organizations in the area but nothing specialized just in footwear. That's a lot of the structure of your body. You’re on your feet all day, so I thought it was really important for those who can’t afford or those that need it,” said Lerma, who runs Footprints of Michigan, a nonprofit organization that provides free footwear to anyone who needs it.
By the end of December, Footprints will have given away about 15,000 pairs of shoes for this year.
Lerma has sacrificed a lot to look out for others. He’s been living out of his warehouse for almost three years and but now that’s no longer an option.
“In September, I caught COVID with really no symptoms just a runny nose but that damaged my kidneys so it lowered the function down to the state where I need dialysis," Lerma said.
Footprints volunteer Leslie McDonald has started up a GoFundme campaign to get Lerma a place of his own.
“I want him to be able to go somewhere after he works all day long and does what he does and just relax and be comfortable. Get a good night’s rest and a good shower and kick his feet up,” McDonald said.
Lerma’s doctors want to switch him to home dialysis but that won't work while he's living in an office. He needs an actual living space to get the care he needs.
McDonald is hoping to raise $10,000 dollars to help out.
For Lerma, accepting help is tough, but he wants to remain healthy so he can continue his mission of giving shoes to people who need them.
“To do home dialysis, you need a home and the office wouldn’t be a sterile place for it to have. I don’t want to take that risk of getting an infection,” said Lerma.
So far, about $400 dollars has been raised.
You can find the GoFundme for Geronimo Lerma here.
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