Dr. Suzanne Levine, so called, “Foot Doctor to the Stars,” knows fashion and high heels, but it was a visit to Cambodia that she says made a whole difference in how she feels about her profession.
The walls of her chic Park Avenue office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan are covered with celebrity photos and magazine articles from around the world about Suzanne Levine. They show her with Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, Andre Leon Talley, Barbara Walters, Bill Cosby, Liam Neeson, and many other Hollywood elite. Dr. Levine is not permitted to say if any of these celebrity elites are her patients, but this story is about a different kind of stars.
On their recent trip to Cambodia, Dr. Levine and her associate Dr. Lautin saw hundreds of children running around shoeless, and there wasn’t a red carpet on top of the rough Cambodian terrain. Many of these beautiful, cute, barefoot children had spent much of their lives with no protection for their feet, and their feet suffered the damage that might be expected. This was a problem that they knew something about. More importantly Dr. Levine saw a solution.
It was time for Dr. Levine to take some of her money from her Park Avenue practice and give back to some of the neediest of the world. Dr. Levine was already a generous donor to multiple charities in New York City, but in Cambodia it was more emotional. In Cambodia, Dr. Levine and Dr. Lautin could see the immediate benefits of their help.
They persuaded their guide to take them to a shoe factory in a nearby town, and less than an hour later, to the children.
“When we put the shoes on the children’s feet, it was one of the most rewarding moments of my life,” says Dr. Levine. No, the shoes are not Michael Kors, not Manolo Blahniks, not Louboutin. They are practical shoes that will protect the feet and soles of the world’s future.
“The smiles and, yes, the tears of some of the youngest children will melt your heart.”
In this first trip, Dr. Levine was only able to help a few hundred children. The shoes will not last forever: the children will- as all children do- outgrow them. But for now there is a little more joy in the world and she is on her way to make a charity to “Shoe the Shoeless.”
Dr. Levine and Dr. Lautin, have reinvented foot treatments and products for the celebrity, the millionaire, and the everyman, but it was this trip that made them more proud about their products and how they can help the world.
Dr. Levine’s office is also a destination for many Greek-Americans that have passed on some of their love for Greece. Maybe the fact that her office is only 4 blocks from the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is also another factor of her love for the Greek-American community.
Dr. Levine has returned to her fashionista practice in Manhattan. She loves helping her patients. She loves getting women back into their stilettos; getting her patients back on the track, the tennis court, and the gold course. But in Cambodia, Dr. Levine found a different kind of love. As Gandhi once stated, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”