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Warming Hearts and Feet, Oswego Small Business Raises Money for Girl Fighting Cystic Fibrosis

Jean Reese, owner of BootSweet, created a design to benefit a little Oswego girl and help with Cystic Fibrosis research.

There might not be any snow on the ground yet, but it’s never too soon to start looking for that new pair of go-to boots to warm your feet for the winter season.

But more than just warming your feet, one Oswego woman’s business is warming hearts as she works to raise money for a little Oswego girl fighting Cystic Fibrosis.

Jean Reese, owner of BootSweet, “bedazzles” boots with hundreds of designs that she hand paints on each pair of boots.

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And in honor of almost 2-year-old Makinlee Thomas, Reese has created a design of a purple rose to decorate the boots, for which all profits will go to the Miracles 4 Makinlee for their annual walk for Cystic Fibrosis research through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“When they tell young children they have this disease and they’re learning to talk, they can’t always pronounce Cystic Fibrosis,” said Reese. “Instead, they say sixty-five roses.”

Reese said she would have loved to paint 65 roses on each boot, but instead painted several large, purple roses. Purple, she said, is the color associated with Cystic Fibrosis.

The idea of decorating boots came to Reese back in January because of her daughter’s, Bridget, boots. “She’s very flamboyant,” said Reese. “And those boots just were not ‘her’. So I asked her if I could paint them.”

The design, a sort of Celtic bird, was a hit and Reese said her daughter wore them everywhere.

BootSweet will do almost any design imaginable, from flowers and rainbows to kittens and unicorns. Reese’s one stipulation is, “If I wouldn’t put it on my child, I will not create it.”

The designs cost around $40, plus a pair of boots, but the rose for Miracles 4 Makinlee is $25, no matter what size boot.

“[Jean] went above and beyond,” said Makinlee’s mother, Stephanie Thomas, a first-grade teacher at Old Post Elementary. “What’s she’s doing is so sweet. I’m very thankful to her.”

Thomas taught Reese’s son last year, which is how the two met.

“When I heard about Makinlee’s situation I knew I wanted to do something for her,” said Reese.

Thomas said that funding for Cystic Fibrosis research is all done through donations, so she is extremely grateful to those like Reese.

“Cystic Fibrosis is considered an ‘orphan disease’ because less than 100,000 people in the United States have it,” explained Thomas. “Because of that, the government doesn’t fund it at all.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive disease that attacks parts of the body that have mucus in them, namely lungs and intestines.  There is currently no known cure for it.

Right now though, Thomas said Makinlee is “doing great.” The little girl undergoes about 80 minutes of preventive treatment a day and wears a vest that helps to loosen the mucus in her lungs.

Visit the BootSweet Facebook page for more information on how to order a pair of Miracle 4 Makinlee or other design boots.

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