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One day when Chehayla was in the hospital receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis, she looked up and spotted a flock of wooden birds hanging from the ceiling. “Mom,” she said, “the birds are like the Doernbecher staff. They take us under their wings.” That sentiment is just one example of Chehayla's charm and wisdom. Those traits certainly came into play when Chehayla's Nike design and development team went to work on bringing her Air Max Zero to life.
Chehayla’s shoe prominently features her nickname, which is a testament to her favorite food: chicken nuggets. Her older sister Talon started calling her Nugget one day, and the name simply stuck. “The Air Max Zero does not originally come with a deubre, so we added that accessory to really highlight her 'Nugget' nickname," says Footwear Designer Kara Nykreim.
“The bright cat faces derive from her original drawing, and the shoe features an Air bag with a speckled camo affect per her request as well," says Kara. “Overall, the shoe is so wild and fun, and it proves that there is opportunity to be youthful in ways we haven’t fully explored.”

Footwear Developer Jonathon Riley agrees. “It’s a whirlwind of a process and there are so many cool aspects," he explains. "It’s been really rewarding professionally. To take something that starts as a child’s drawing and bring it to life is a very unique experience."
“Chehayla also wanted to put a graphic with text on the sockliner - THE BIRDS ARE THE DOERNBECHER STAFF, THEY TAKE US UNDER THEIR WINGS - to show the impact the staff at Doernbecher has had on her life. The staff really are family members to them, and I love that she wanted to acknowledge their impact on her life," reveals Kara.
In the end, the shoe's design took shape based on a multitude of insights from Chehayla. “One of her quotes was, ‘When I’m having fun, I’m unstoppable.’ That really comes to life with her design," says Jonathon. For Kara, the effect of the project and its overarching message extends beyond the look and feel of the final product. “These kids that go to Doernbecher face some really serious issues, so what’s refreshing about this shoe, being so youthful and energetic, is that it represents a moment of just allowing a kid to be a kid.”
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