Born with Spina Bifida 33 years ago and having persevered through 20 spinal surgeries and an autoimmune disorder called Pyoderma Gangrenosum (yes, that “Gang Green”), Shauna Byland could have wished for anything from perfect health to a new spine.
But her wish was for something that almost everyone takes for granted: the ability to bathe safely. Her parents, Cindy and Mike, strapped with medical bills related to Shauna’s health conditions, were unable to grant their daughter’s reasonable request.
So Cindy decided to write a company in Nashville, Tennessee, who indisputably makes the premiere walk-in tub on the market, Safe Step Walk-In Tub Co. She submitted a nomination for consideration for a free tub through the company’s nationally-recognized philanthropy Safe Step Cares.
Safe Step, which has donated more than 50 tubs in five years and receives dozens of submissions monthly, put it under consideration along with other deserving nominations. Then, it did something even more remarkable: they asked their valued team members to vote on the program’s next recipient.
Cindy’s nomination on behalf of her ailing daughter won the popular vote. And earlier this month, Shauna received her dream gift in the form of a state-of-the-art walk-in tub. And it wasn’t a public relations fly-by. Company representatives from Charlotte and Birmingham, along with employees of Canadian Safe Step, the dealer representative which serves the Salt Lake City community, flew or drove in to make the delivery and installation in person.
“Safe Step Cares is the giving heart of a very caring and different company,” said Safe Step Cares overseer Derek Farley. “Our team members take this program very seriously and it starts at the top with Mike (president Duffer), Stuart (CFO Hall) and Demie (COO Angelocci). The company sees the program as karma in that the more they give, the more success they achieve and personally, I think they are right.”
Farley declined to disclose the value of the tub and installation, saying, “First, the ability to provide this is priceless. Second, all jobs are custom and this one was free so it’s not about the money. It’s about the fact that Safe Step Cares.”
Shauna took the first “safe bath” of her life and gave the tub an A+. “It relieved my chronic pain and eased my nerve damage. I can’t believe they chose me but I couldn’t be happier and am amazed that people who haven’t even met me gave me my dream gift of a lifetime.”
Farley downplayed it but with a wink-wink: “Mike (Duffer) is the real deal. This is his program and I am just the messenger. But good luck getting the smile off of my face today.”
The same could be said for the entire Bylund family, thanks to Safe Step Cares.