Every year, Nike partners with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland on the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection. The team-up sees patients from Doernbecher work with designers at Nike to create special edition shoes, and those creations are actually released to the public, with proceeds going to benefit the hospital. 2015 marks the twelfth iteration of the partnership that has earned Doernbecher more than $11 million. And now, without further ado, I give you the 2015 Doernbecher Freestyle XII Collection.
LIZZY OLIVAN, 11
A year ago, Lizzy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but she doesn’t plan on letting that get in the way of her dream of becoming a professional dancer. Lizzy’s Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 celebrates her passion and her strength of character. A glow-in-the-dark dancer appears on the heel, while the sparkling laces mimic her numerous dance trophies. Lizzy’s name punctuates the look on the Swoosh, and her motto shines on the fabric print: “Stay Strong. Dance On.”
JOHN CHARLES, 11
John has a number of talents, from soccer to gymnastics to wrestling to single-eyebrow-raising, and his Crohn’s disease diagnosis has added one more to the list: swallowing seven pills at a time. His Air Jordan 13 plays up all of the above, as the green-and-black leather shoe features his soccer number, his seven daily pills and a cartoon version of himself with his eyebrow raised.
Digging deeper, his twin brother, Jonah, and his Germans shepherd, Teagan, appear on the sockliner alongside his travel goal: an image of an Egyptian pyramid. His favorite foods, chicken and jojos, are named on the lace aglets, and the most inspirational feature appears on the outsole. The word “Crohn’s” is positioned right on the bottom of the shoe, so that John stomps out the disease with every step.
KIAN SAFHOLM, 11
Two years ago, a staph infection spread through Kian’s body and entered his heart, necessitating three surgeries. Now, after months of recovery, he’s created a Nike LeBron 13 inspired by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, both of whom Kian cheers on religiously.
Playing on LeBron’s “heart of a lion,” the shoe features a gradient fade inspired by a sunrise on the African savanna, and then adds LBJ’s signature and a stylized lion logo. For a personal touch, a family crest Kian created appears on the sockliner, shouting out faith, family, perseverance and basketball. Finally, “FOREVER GRATEFUL,” the Safholm family motto, finishes off the striking style.
EMORY MAUGHAN, 10
Emory has been diagnosed with Stage IV kidney failure, which will require a transplant. She patiently waits for a new kidney and stays positive all the while because, “If you dream hard enough, anything is possible.”
Emory’s Nike Air Max 90 boasts an image of a sasquatch riding a unicorn, emphasizing the point that anything is possible — even the seemingly impossible — when you believe. The upper of the shoe features the word “IMPOSSIBLE,” but with Emory’s added apostrophe, transforming it into “I’m Possible.” The shoe’s inner-lining then brims with personal touches, from family members’ names to tropical palm trees.
JACOB BURRIS, 14
Jacob has a rare condition called coarctation — literally a disconnect in his aorta — resulting in his wearing a Dacron tube in his heart at all times, keeping the aorta together and his heart pumping. His only symptom indicating a problem was high blood pressure, which unfortunately makes the potentially fatal coarctation easy to go undiagnosed.
As a result, Jacob used his Nike Air Max 95 as a “public service announcement,” with “CHECK YOUR BP” boldly written on the tongue, along with a heart graphic created using Jacob’s thumbprint. The red-and-blue palette his inspired by Jacob’s favorite superhero, Spider-Man, a heart graphic appears under the heel with the motto “I WALK TO MY OWN BEAT” and a circuit-board pattern grabs the eye as well, inspired by Jacob’s own internal circuitry.
ISAIAH NEUMAYER-GRUBB, 8
Isaiah was diagnosed with a brain lesion as seven years old, and his family told him they’d heard that his hero, Batman, has the same condition. Thus, this was an opportunity for Isaiah to be brave and strong just like Batman.
Isaiah’s Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski starts out solid-black, but it’s finished in a special reflective coat. When light hits it, the famous Bat Signal shines, a symbol Isaiah associates with bravery. His name appears on the midsole, along with mantras he’s embraced: “FIGHTER,” “FREEDOM,” and “BELIEVE.”
The 2015 Nike Doernbecher Freestyle Collection releases Sunday, November 21, on Nike.com; Villa’s King of Prussia, Harper Court, Mall of America and Skillman Center locations; Shoe Palace’s Melrose, Fashion Show and Oakridge locations; and the following Nike stores:
Nike Georgetown, Nike San Francisco, NIKETOWN New York, Nike Roosevelt Field, NIKELAB 21M NYC, NIKETOWN Los Angeles, Nike Lenox, Nike Las Vegas, Nike Portland, Nike Chicago, Nike Dallas, Nike Boston, Nike Seattle, Nike Running The Grove and Nike Santa Monica