The Challenge


How can technology help people working to uphold human rights in the face of unlawful detention? read the brief


Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Diagnosed with PTTD, I faced the first challenge that I might actually be powerless to surmount.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction - also known as 'rigid flat foot' is, typically, a degenerative disorder.  One begins with orthoses, graduates to a boot, likely moves to crutches and, eventually, potentially to being wheelchair-bound.

When I turned 20, I discovered the ability to overcome substantial obstacles by losing 150 pounds.  Since then, I've never faced a challenge I couldn't overcome.  Confronted with this, I felt the omnipresent and exquisitely abundant fire in my soul being slowly extinguished.  Most days I wouldn't have to think about it, but any time I did consider it, I would immediately begin to feel inadequate, hopeless.

To not be able to participate in the activities I have so come to love.  To not be able check off that bucket list item of a backpacking trip through New Zealand.  What about kids?  If I have them, will they too inherit this?

For my part in this story, my fire prevailed.  I began running barefoot.  I continued to read, research, and locate progressive specialists ultimate to discover that I was misdiagnosed.

But I have to say: when the fire goes out, you've got nothing.  And then you're done.  "A man isn't finished when he's defeated, he's finished when he quits" (Nixon).

Perhaps there's something we can do to help (re)kindle the fire for these detainees?
Mission #2 Exploring Powerlessness


Join the conversation and post a comment.


October 03, 2011, 08:34AM
Hi Christian, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. We know occasionally people have issues uploading images so let us know if you face any problems. You should be able to use the 'Update this' button on the right of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring ideas on OpenIDEO!

Christian Bellofatto

October 03, 2011, 16:52PM
Thanks for the advice! I agree wholeheartedly, but had difficulty thinking of an appropriate picture :) Will update.


October 03, 2011, 21:22PM
Nice one, Christian!

Ben Morgan

October 02, 2011, 10:24AM
This really does seem to go to the heart of it. 'Power' (as opposed to force) is not a physical thing. It can be easily transfered with shifts in perceptions and attitude. Great story Christian.

Christian Bellofatto

October 14, 2011, 17:15PM
Thanks for the response, Ben. And nice (pithy) summary. Perception of power is everything.

Arjan Tupan

October 01, 2011, 07:43AM
Great personal story of how powerlessness can impact a person's life. Thanks for sharing.
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