Police officer designs new shoe to help first responders battling PTSD

(CNN/KGAN) - Post-traumatic stress disorder comes in many forms and affects many people differently.

Some proceeds from the shoe will go to The Code 9 Project, which focuses on getting all first responders and their families the training and support needed to help with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It most commonly impacts those who put their own lives on the line to keep people safe.

A report from the Ruderman Family Foundation shows at least 140 police officers and 103 firefighters lost their lives to suicide in 2017.

A report from Blue H.E.L.P. shows 159 police officers lost their lives to suicide in 2018.

Officer Ron Slagle, who has worked 24 years as a policeman in Iowa, says over the years he's seen how the job effects fellow officers and other first responders.

"It's first responders in general; it's the nurses, it can be a nurse off duty, it can be the paramedics, it can be fire or police," Slagle said. "There's a lot of things that are being seen by these first responders and absorbed that need to be dealt with.

To help fellow first responders, he's launched a fundraising campaign selling Honor and Respect Athletic Shoes.

Slagle says he spent almost a year designing the shoe.

In honor of the organization's name, 9% of proceeds will be donated to the Code 9 Project, a national organization focusing on helping all first responders and their families dealing with PTSD.

According to its website, the Code 9 Project's goal is to provide resources to assist managing and reducing the compressive stress effects, such as PTSD and suicide, with education and supportive services.

"We give them coping mechanisms, things to learn, breathing exercises," says Deborah Ortize, the co-founder of the Code 9 Project.

You can pre-order a pair of Honor and Respect Athletic shoes here. Officer Slagle says he expects the shoes to be shipped out mid-July.

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