From cardboard boxes to intelligent shoes – Sue Mawson

Weds 5/03 at the University of Sheffield Professor Sue Mawson gave her inaugural lecture to over 230 enthralled listeners. Sue began her lecture by humbly explaining how the event wasn’t about her, but the people she works with. She thanked her supervisor and mentor, Bunny LeRoux, the staff she works with; Dr Nasrin Nasr and Dr Jack Parker and also her PhD students whom she said being a Professor wouldn’t be worthwhile without. She personally thanked John Moxon, and his wife Joan, a stroke survivor and participant within the SMART shoe study (described below) alongside all the other stroke survivors she has worked with throughout her career. Traditionally, Sue also thanked her family for their continued love and support.

Townships of Africa where Sue previously worked

She discussed how our understanding of the brain used to affect physiotherapy (focusing on compensating for restrictions rather than on recovery), treatment and how that understanding has changed significantly over the past 50 years. She described how the NHS reforms have prevented the delivery of interventions we know to be effective.

Sue also described her work in stroke rehabilitation as a physiotherapist, and how she wanted shoes to talk to people to give them feedback on their rehabilitation post stroke. She then went on to describe how she later made this a reality in the innovation that is the SMART Shoe.

Many gathered for the wine reception
following Sue’s lecture to celebrate

Sue finished her lecture where her earlier work began in the townships of South Africa. Here she treated children with cerebral palsy where she worked with limited funds and resources. Remarkably, Sue managed to use a simple piece of equipment – a chair made from cardboard boxes – to enable children to sit with improved posture and to aid their recovery.

Sue has changed the lives of children in Africa, stroke patients in the UK and not to mention the many members of staff that have had the great pleasure of working with her. She is an inspiration to all and clearly a remarkable woman who has quite literally gone from cardboard boxes to intelligent shoes.
Reblogged with the kind permission of Lauren Powell