A spoonful of creativity does more than help the medicine go down.
The Doernbecher Freestyle shoe collection started from a simple idea: pair patients battling life-threatening illnesses with talented Nike designers and developers to create unique sneakers to be sold throughout North America with proceeds benefitting OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR.
Nine years later having donated more than five million dollars to the hospital, the power of a simple idea is clear. Every dollar raised by Freestyle goes where it can do the most good at the hospital, whether that’s developing new clinical services, funding innovative research programs, or testing new treatments for serious childhood diseases.
The power of the program is most easily seen in the smiles and stories of the Doernbecher patients, turned footwear designers. Each shoe in this collection reveals the child’s personal journey and each one is as unique as the child who designed it.
Meet this year’s Doernbecher Freestyle patient designers and their Nike design teams:
Finnigan Mooney, Age 10. Designer of the Doernbecher Nike Dunk Hi SB. Diagnosis is Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Finnigan Mooney was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He’s toughed out more than 13 heart surgeries during his life, and his positive attitude and infectious sense of humor have remained unscathed. He loves playing hoops, jumping on his trampoline and perfecting his killer golf game.
Kylie Bell, Age 16. Designer of the Women’s Nike Free Run+ 2 DB. Overcame surgery for D-net and Ganglioglioma tumors. Kylie Bell loves to dance but a brain tumor threatened to derail her dreams; however, the tumor couldn’t keep this dancer off the floor for long. A mere two weeks after her surgery at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital she was back in her element, dancing on stage.
Chad Berg, Age 15. Designer of the Nike Air Force I DB. Survivor of Hypothermia and Cardiac Arrest Last January, Chad Berg took a spill in his kayak and spent 90 minutes in the icy water. By the time he was rescued, he was in full cardiac arrest with no pulse and an internal temperature of 73 degrees. Essentially, he was lifeless. After nearly three hours of CPR, the medical team transferred Chad to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and put him on a machine that could do the work for his heart and lungs while he recovered. Incredibly, he was back in action within two weeks with no neurological damage at all.
Autumn Boynton, Age 10. Designer of the Women’s Air Max 90 DB. Survivor of Bi-lateral Wilms’ tumor. Autumn Boynton was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the spring of 2005, with bi-lateral Wilms’ tumor in her kidneys and abdomen. When the cancer spread too much to save her kidneys, Autumn underwent emergency surgery to remove both of them. After 3.5 years of regular dialysis, her dad was able to give her a kidney, exactly four years to the date she was first diagnosed.
Oswaldo Jimenez, Age 11. Designer of the Air Jordan 9 Retro DB. Diagnosis is Severe Pulmonary Hypertension. Last December, after a series of fainting spells, Oswaldo Jimenez was given a life-changing diagnosis: severe pulmonary hypertension. The once very active boy now has to be cautious with the amount of energy he exerts, but with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s help he is enjoying life just like an 11-year-old should.
Grant Olsen, Age 11. Designer of the Men’s Nike Free Run+ 2 DB. Survivior of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. When Grant Olsen was six years old, his mom and dad found a lump in his neck that turned out to be acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Grant is back to playing sports and practicing his electric guitar. He loves Hawaii and outer space and is a straight-A student. All of which you’ll see reflected in his shoe.