Being the tallest man in America isn't as fun as you might imagine.
'If I were that tall,' you might be thinking, 'I'd surely make a fortune playing basketball.' But it's impossible to play basketball when your feet, clad with ill-fitting shoes, are unable to support 7'8" worth of girth.
That's the problem confronting Rochester resident Igor Vovkovinskiy, who has resorted to collecting Facebook donations in hopes he can finally pay for custom-made shoes.
[jump] Vovkovinskiy came to the U.S. from Ukraine when he was six, by which time he was already six feet tall. Now 29, the tallest man in the country has a pituitary gland tumor to blame for his 7'8" height.
Chronic foot problems have been exacerbated by ill-fitting shoes. Vovkovinskiy, a college student taking online classes, has had 16 foot surgeries and uses an electronic wheelchair to get around his Rochester home. He recently created a "Shoe Donations for Igor Vovkovinskiy" Facebook page to help him raise funds for surprisingly expensive custom-made shoes.
From the page:
I am 7' 8.33" tall, and I haven't had a proper fitting pair of shoes for more than 6 years. No matter what company I write to, or how many friends of mine ask companies to help me with my shoe dilemma, nobody wants to help if there is no benefit for them. Reebok recently told me, that the scan of my feet and a custom mold of my feet will cost about $16,000. They won't do it otherwise. I thought I could do commercials for the shoe company that helped me get some proper footwear, but apparently I am not a desirable candidate for commercials.Vovkovinskiy's Facebook campaign has been a success. He posted yesterday that he's raised over $3,700 in less than a month, and a recent WCCO report about Vovkovinskiy's plight brought more good news -- a Reebok spokesperson told WCCO that the company plans to help Vovkovinskiy and will release details about how they'll do so next week.
We have written to Oprah, Dr. Phil, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, Ac360, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Reebok, Adidas, Nike, Converse, Red Wing Shoes, Basketball Players, WWE Wrestlers, Basketball Coaches, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Science Channel, National Geographic, Bill Maher, President Obama, Michele Obama, and others, and nobody has ever responded with any offer to help. So now I turn to the public as a whole. I have endured 16+ surgeries on my feet because of bad shoes. I am now recovering from the last set of surgeries, and I still don't have shoes to wear. I have 1 pair of clogs, they are shapeless shoes, with no traction on the bottom, I cannot go out in them in the winter time, they have no arch support, they rub my toes, my legs, feet, hips, and back hurt terribly when I walk in them, and wearing them further will do nothing but lead to more pain and suffering.
Hopefully, whatever Reebok has planned first and foremost involves getting Igor a pair of shoes that fit as soon as possible.