A Shreveport woman is using her shoe-designing business to help her cope with her battle with cancer.
Dee Walker was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer in her throat back in 2014.
"As a 33-year-old woman in the prime of my life, I thought that that was the end of the world," said Walker.
While she was in treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, OK, she started doodling on her shoes.
"I just went to my room and I just got some ordinary paint that they had in the craft room, I got a paint brush and I just started doodling on my shoes."
She painted her cancer ribbon on a pair of white tennis shoes and people started to take notice of them and ask her where she got them.
"They were like 'Are they selling these shoes in the gift shop? Is there somewhere we can buy these with our cancer ribbons on it?' And I said no ma'am I did these myself. and they were like 'Oh my God!"
Walker began to make shoes for other and started her business Shoebiz Apparel.
At first, she would make shoes and try to give them away, but couldn't get anyone to take them.
"And I was like, 'oh my God am I think bad?"
The first shoes she sold were for a Cowboys fan.
"Once I got done with the shoe, I gave them to the customer, the customer was very pleased! When I look back at the shoe I couldn't believe it myself that I actually completed that task."
Once that shoe was out there, her business took off. She makes designs shoes based off of children's characters, Greek organizations and sports teams. Some of her most popular orders are for New Orleans Saints shoes.
"The Saints are winning and yes, the Saints are a very popular shoe. But I'm not going to leave Dallas out," said Walker. "Reason being I'm neutral is because all my customers love different teams.
Walker has made shoes for professional athletes, actors and musical performers, but despite her success, she says once again she's having health problems.
Just before Christmas, her doctors found a cyst in her lungs and a growth where her thyroid was removed.
"Hmmm 3 days before Christmas. Merry Christmas, Dee. So it kind of put me in a sorry mood for the holidays, but I had to get shoes out."
She says she worked day in and day out to get out those order. Through all her health problems, Walker says her business has helped her get through it.
Now, she is waiting to hear from her doctors on what happens next. If it has to be removed, she will try to get it done here in Shreveport.
In the meantime, creating her works of art is helping her health take a step in the right direction.
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