The History of the Shadow Buddies Foundation:
Inspired by her son who wanted a friend “just like me”; Marty Postlethwait founded the Shadow Buddies Foundation in September of 1995. Miles, her son, was born with multiple congenital birth defects that had him in and out of the hospital since he was born. During one of his many hospital stays, Miles told his mom and dad that he wanted a “buddy” that had defects similar to his that could help ease his feelings of loneliness and fear. So Marty took action and with the help of Miles, developed the first Shadow Buddy. Shadow Buddies are condition specific muslin dolls that provide both educational and emotional support to thousands of chronically ill patients and their families. They chose to call them Shadow Buddies because just like your shadow, these buddies will always be by your side. And what started with 4 Shadow Buddies has now grown to include 25 condition specific buddies that bring smiles to children in all 50 states and 16 countries. Each buddy is dressed, packaged and shipped (with love!) from the foundation offices located in Lenexa, Kansas.
Shadow Buddies received the 1998 Client of the Year Award from the National Business Incubation Association. Shadow Buddies was nominated for the prestigious “Points of Light” Presidential Service Award. In February 2000, Shadow Buddies was named as one of former President George Bush’s Daily Points of Light Award “for acts of generosity and community action”. They have also been nominated for the Kellogg’s 2000 Hannah Neil World of Children Award.
The Shadow Buddies story has been told in People Magazine, Time, Time for Kids, Women’s World, plus 22 U.S. and 5 Canadian Radio Stations. Shadow Buddies have even gone International with a story in Stern Magazine and the Italian edition of Glamour. In January 2006, Marty’s story was featured in First for Women’s Magazine celebrating their 10th year Anniversary.
Marty Postlethwait creator of Shadow Buddies®, shares her story about turning a challenging situation in her family’s life, into a positive for thousands of other families.
Executive Director and Creator of the Shadow Buddies Foundation:
Marty has shared her story and appeared on the ABC-TV talk show “The View”, NBC’s “Today Show”, “Extra”, “In-Person with Maureen O’Boyle”, to name a few. Marty accompanied Heart to Heart International on their Goodwill Medical Airlift to China and Tibet where she distributed 500 Shadow Buddies in hospitals and orphanages. In partnership with the National Children’s Cancer Society, Marty presented Oncology Buddies to President Mikhail Gorbachev for the children in Russia.
In March 2001, Marty received a national award through Women’s Tylenol “Commitment to Care Awards” for Caring for Children. In a ceremony hosted by The Women’s Museum in Dallas, Texas, Ms. Postlethwait was recognized for her vision, dedication, and generosity, which earned her recognition in the Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future in association with the Smithsonian Institution. In March 2009, Marty was recognized as one of Kansas City’s 50 most influential business women by Midwest CEO Magazine. She was also nominated for 2009 Nonprofit Professional of the Year. The number of lives Marty has touched has far exceeded her expectations. Her greatest joy comes from personally delivering Shadow Buddies to children and senior citizens and seeing how from its humble beginnings, The Shadow Buddies foundation has brought “Miles of Smiles” to over 800,000 special people.
Marty currently resides in Olathe, Kansas with her husband Eric. Together they are the proud parents of Melissa, Mallory and Miles. Marty is also “Grandma Honey” to 3 beautiful granddaughters-Macie, Blakely and Mackenzie.