How a Sneaker Collab Helped Me Connect Closer To Loved Ones

Ray P

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Some people wear their emotions on their sleeves. But if you're like me, you wear your emotions on your feet. Personally, I don't consider sneakers to be just leather and rubber.

To me, a pair of sneakers is the greatest form of expression.

You can totally tell what kind of mood I'm in by what sneakers I'm wearing. If I'm feeling anti-social, I might wear something super low key and all black. If I'm going out and mingling with others, I'll probably wear a pair of shoes that are a conversation starter.

I hope you can relate so far.

Up until this week, I've never had a pair of sneakers that helped me express myself to people on a subject that otherwise I didn't know how to approach.

I have a couple of loved ones who are indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS. I can imagine how difficult it is for them to speak on feelings about a person they know who is infected.

I'm the type of person who extends himself to emotionally support loved ones and in this instance, I just didn't know how.

Recently, RISE NY and Puma contacted me to debut their Blaze of Glory "Lost Ones" collaboration. Their partnership was created to help spread HIV/AIDS awareness.

I was honored of course, but was a bit stumped on what type of content to create. The opportunity presented a challenge for me to do something that I've never done before.

I didn't want to do just on-foot images or an unboxing video, the message deserved more than that in my opinion. Especially since I feel a personal attachment to the story.

After a few days of thinking, I decided to create this:

Creating the short film helped me realize that this project was a blessing.

The strength of Chase Peso, Co-Founder of RISE, sharing the story of his Dad passing from HIV/AIDS gave me the opportunity to learn. To learn how to show support to my loved ones who are emotional affected by others in similar positions.

This sneaker collaboration helped me make the conversation easier to start. It helped me tell my loved ones that I'm here for them in times when they need extra strength. And for that I'm thankful.

The RISE Puma Blaze of Glory "Lost Ones" releases February 6th in-store and online at 11am EST.

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