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Nike and Doernbecher Children's Hospital Inspire Kids

Beaverton, Ore. (9 November, 2007) – Six young Doernbecher Children’s Hospital patients today unveil their newly created designs of athletic footwear for a one-of-a-kind fund-raising campaign. The project unites volunteer Nike designers and developers with Portland’s renowned Doernbecher Children's Hospital, a premier pediatric medical center located at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The six designers – ranging in age from 12 to 16 – are battling life-threatening medical conditions. Yet, their creativity and energy made them among the best candidates to work on the Doernbecher Freestyle IV project, an annual program that pairs Nike design teams with kids to create footwear for charity. As patients at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, these young people worked for seven months with their Nike mentors to bring their shoe designs to life, selecting shoe styles, construction materials, colors, patterns and personal touches, such as lucky numbers and favorite sayings. One design, for example, features pink ballet ribbons representing a designer’s love of dance, while another sparkles with stars-and-stripes as a tribute to a family member who is serving the U.S. military in Iraq.

More than $850,000 Raised in Four Years for Pediatric Center All profits from the sale of Doernbecher Freestyle IV-designed shoe sales will benefit the hospital’s foundation and the patients it serves through Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and OHSU. Money raised from this national shoe campaign will fund research, health care for uninsured children and new advances in medical technology. In the past four years, the program has generated more than $850,000 for the world-class pediatric health center, which typically serves more than 50,000 children a year.

Available just in time for the holidays, the Doernbecher Freestyle IV line of footwear will go on sale November 9, 2007, and will be available for purchase at all Niketown stores nationwide and at Photos are available at

Unique Shoes as Remarkable as the Kids Themselves The young designers are working to recover from a range of serious health problems, including brain tumors, leukemia, kidney replacement, heart valve replacement and right arm reattachment following a life-threatening auto accident.

To create their footwear, the youth sketched their designs on blank shoe templates and then presented their ideas to their Nike teammates. The sneaker designers decided the details, including style (such as men’s high-tops or Velcro-strapped women’s Nike Air Rifts) color combinations and other signature features. The wearable results are true works of art with inspiring twists.

The Doernbecher Freestyle IV designers are: * Mike Armstrong, 16, of Vancouver, Wash., expressed his love for America with a red-white-and-blue stars and stripes Nike Air Max design. Doctors at Doernbecher replaced Mike’s heart valve – an experience that is depicted with an EKG heartbeat on the shoe’s heel tab, and the design team expressed his surgery on the outer sole of the shoe, stitched tight with a Swoosh.

* Sheridan Brenton, 15, of Grandview Baptist School in Estacada, Ore., whose right arm was reattached at Doernbecher following a near-fatal car accident, gave Nike Air Jordan II Retros a funky paisley makeover reflecting his flair for fashion. His hoop shoe also features 35 perforations on the forefront to represent Sheridan’s jersey number, and also features his school colors.

* Alice Heinz, 14, of Cheldelin Middle School in Corvalis, Ore., is battling Neurofibromatosis. The nursing uniform of Alice’s mom inspired this teen’s design because her mom can’t easily find shoes to match her scrubs. Heinz’s blue and green Nike Air Dunks have numerous details including the words “Live, Love and Laugh” on the shoes’ outer soles – a truly innovative design element for a Nike shoe.

* Whitney McClain, 14, of South Salem High School in Salem, Ore., is receiving treatment for brain tumors. McClain oversaw every detail of her patterned Nike Air Rifts which are emblazoned with the inspirational words “I’m grateful for every step I take” along with the words “Hope” and “Dream.”

* Ricky Rudd, 12, of Toutle Lake Elementary School in Silverlake, Wash., has t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The athletic pre-teen added baseball stitching and pebbled football leather to his sporty creation. The shoe even features No. 51 for Ichiro, Rudd’s favorite baseball player.

* Roma Ugarte, 13, of Walt Morey Middle School in Portland, Ore., is a dancer, and designed her Nike Air Zoom Miler shoes with the sparkles and ribbons of a ballerina’s shoes. Ugarte’s Swoosh is made of pink ballet slipper material. Pink satin ribbons serve as laces and the sole includes a tiny dancer logo.

Sue Nicol, executive director of the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation, said the program boosts the spirits of both the kids and the hospital staff who help the young patients overcome a host of serious medical conditions.

“The impact of the Doernbecher Freestyle program has been nothing short of amazing,” said Nicol. “The enthusiasm with which these kids have tackled this opportunity is matched only by their resilience against the very tough circumstances of their conditions. They inspire all of us to do better.”

Originally proposed four years ago as a unique fund-raising opportunity by Michael Doherty, Nike’s Global Presentation Creative Director and Doernbecher Foundation Board Member, the program has proven to be equally rewarding for families and Nike employees alike.

“It takes eight departments at Nike to bring these shoes to life. If you count all of the retail sales associates who work at Nike stores helping customers to make a Doernbecher Freestyle shoe purchase, more than 8,000 people at Nike support this project,” said Doherty. “But what makes this program truly special is the way in which the designers’ vision and passion for life is expressed within each pair of shoes.”

The Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to secure private philanthropic support for Doernbecher Children's Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University. The foundation raises funds from individuals, companies, foundations and organizations, and invests and manages gifts in accordance with donors' wishes.

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Cole Haan Holdings Incorporated, a leading designer and marketer of luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats; Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Exeter Brands Group LLC, which designs and markets athletic footwear and apparel for the value retail channel; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and NIKE Bauer Hockey Inc., a leading designer and distributor of hockey equipment.