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Video edited by Damian Joseph
In the early 1990s, Don Kellogg’s wife, June, developed lymphedema, a condition that causes excruciating swelling of the limbs. A former product developer at Nabisco, Kellogg thought maybe he could ease her pain. He fabricated a lightweight, comfortable sleeve that he filled with foam. The device wicked away moisture and gently pushed excess fluid away, allowing the skin to breathe.
Today, his invention has turned into a $150,000 company and Kellogg into a 72-year-old entrepreneur. His Belmont (Mass.) startup, Telesto Medtech, wouldn’t be here, however, if not for the San Francisco 49ers. Kellogg dropped his research after June died in 1994 in San Francisco, where she had been getting treatment. But the NFL team had heard about the sleeve from therapists who had seen its benefits, and in 2002 began using it to treat swelling from injuries.
Sensing a bigger market, Kellogg rang up an old friend and former Chicago futures trader, Mitch Kasper, who invested $100,000 to help launch the company in 2006. The made-to-fit garments cost $250 to $900, and customers include lymphedema patients as well as the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Mavericks.