Johnson's designer crutches help people 'look better'

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

VAIL, Colo. - When it comes to home medical equipment, some people would rather pay extra for something stylish than accept a cheaper "plain old ugly" alternative. Just ask Laurie Johnson.
Her designer-grade LemonAid Crutches, which People magazine and the Today Show featured in June, run about $150 a pair, and most consumers tag on an extra $50 for an attachable carry bag called CrutchWear.
When you consider that a basic aluminum crutch retails for around $19 on the Internet, paying $200 out-of-pocket seems remarkable.
"I think people want to look better," said Johnson. "I can't tell you how many people call up and say, 'I hate these crutches, and I'm going to a dinner party and I saw your crutches and they don't make me feel like the oddball in the room.'"
Johnson's aluminum crutches, which are patent pending, come in a variety of colors (they are powder coated) with a chic selection of suggestive fabrics for the padded arm and hand rests (Safari Adventure, Asian Inspiration, Artic Warmth, American Energy, British Tradition and Island Relaxation). Over the past year, she's sold about 500 sets of crutches and CrutchWear bags through her Web site,
Johnson knows the desire that consumers have for stylish medical equipment. Several years ago, she severely injured her leg in a private plan crash that killed her husband and son. While recuperating from five operations in 18 months, she and her sister decided to spice up her crutches with some leopard fabric. That's where the idea for LemonAid Crutches--making lemonade out of lemons--came from. She donates part of the company's proceeds to Step With Hope, an organization that helps people recover from tragic events like the loss of a loved one.
"The reality of this is that this is a tragic story in that I lost my family during that plane crash," Johnson said. "But by pledging our support to Step with Hope, you can feel better while you are out on some kind of recovery."