Nike and OHSU Doernbecher are proud to unveil the 2014 Doernbecher Freestyle Collection, now in its 11th year, featuring one-of-a-kind apparel, footwear and equipment designs that reflect the inspirations and aspirations of six young patient-designers.
Nike and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, have empowered patients through design for more than a decade with the annual Freestyle Collection, raising nearly $8 million for the hospital to help expand pioneering research, support clinical care, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, recruit new experts and help cover the cost of care for families most in need.
“Every child is both unique and wonderful. Here at Doernbecher, we are thrilled to be a part of these amazing children’s lives, and we applaud Nike and the Freestyle program for giving these kids the chance to show the world how special they truly are,” said Dana Braner, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.M., head of pediatric critical care medicine and vice chair of inpatient clinical services, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
When Chase had his 4-year-old wellness check in November 2010, everything was fine. But by Christmas, he was teetering over and bumping into things. In January he complained his head hurt. The pediatrician sent Chase to OHSU Doernbecher to “rule out anything major.” His mom intuitively packed an overnight bag, afraid of what they would learn. When the technician completed the MRI scans, the doctor had not yet arrived. He sent the family home, saying the doctor would be in touch with results. But 10 minutes later, driving down the hill, their cell phone rang. It was OHSU Doernbecher’s chief of pediatric neurosurgery. It turned out to be a benign, but fast-growing and dangerous tumor. Chase’s brain was swelling; he needed surgery. That was on Jan. 11. The operation took place Jan. 14. They went home Jan. 17. Seven days changed their entire outlook.
Chase’s mind works with lightning speed. A TAG student with a spatial awareness and intellectual capacity beyond his years, when he thinks about his world, he thinks in 3-D. He builds replicas of everything using LEGOs, tape and ribbon. He draws maps of their house as well as all of the routes to his favorite places: the golf course, his street where sparks fly from his scooter, even the route to Doernbecher, where he got to ride in a top-secret elevator last time he went for a routine MRI. He thinks MRIs are actually pretty cool — he found out they work with a magnet stronger than the earth’s magnetic field. He was so fascinated, he built an MRI from LEGOs. He thinks he wants to be a neurosurgeon. Or maybe an engineer. Or an architect. In the meantime, this 8-year-old is going to do what 8-year-olds do: grow up, learn a lot and have as much fun as possible.
The color scheme and texture of Chase’s collection — the Stefan Janoski Hoody and Cap — is inspired by “Dino,” his constant companion during treatment. The furry, nubbly upper and unique speckled outsole bring an entirely new aesthetic to the signature Janoski shoe — Chase even combined his logo with Janoski’s on the top of the tongue. On the cap, Chase highlighted his first initial with “7,” which represents his age when he designed the collection. The lining of the hoody is a rendering of Chase’s last brain scans showing that his tumor is clear.
Tim Haarmann had just spent a week in Washington, D.C., with his eighth-grade class, then he flew back across the country to a baseball tournament where he played five straight games. He was exhausted, but that was to be expected. What wasn’t expected or normal was a massive bruise that lasted 10 weeks after he was hit by a pitch. And instead of rebounding with rest, Tim was becoming increasingly fatigued and weak. Then came severe nosebleeds that sometimes lasted 30 minutes. He developed a fever. His pediatrician sent him to OHSU Doernbecher immediately, where he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a particularly devastating form of blood cancer.
Tim got sicker before he got better. He would endure 10 days of chemo, then 20 days of recovery, all while staying full-time in the hospital. In the hospital, he read the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. He got really good at Settlers of Catan, his favorite board game. A born competitor, he figured out 24 laps around the unit equaled a mile. He made it a goal to walk a mile each day. He ended up walking 53 miles — more than two marathons. He has discovered a love for running and a strength within himself that will carry him through his life ahead. Now as he flies along the wooded trails near his house, he feels alive and strong and free.
Tim’s design of the Nike Free 5.0 features “24” on one heel and “LAPS” on the other. Purple and black is a nod to his favorite team, the Washington Huskies, and the custom checkered fabric is inspired by the flag at the finish line of a race. He pays tribute to the memory of two of his friends, Big Boy and Audrey, who also battled cancer at OHSU Doernbecher. And the sockliner graphic is inspired by Settlers of Catan. Tim’s collection also includes a hoody and cap, highlighted by “24” and the colors of the Huskies.
Caden Lampert started feeling sick at a basketball practice in December 2013. That was on a Wednesday. On Thursday he came home from school because he felt nauseated and couldn't hold food down. They thought it was the flu, but by Friday he could barely walk or open his eyes. In the OHSU Doernbecher Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Caden was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a life-threatening autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system begins to attack the body itself. Caden stayed in the hospital for two months, regaining his strength and relearning how to walk, feed himself, write, bathe and just about everything else.
Today Caden is recovering like a champ and he barely even remembers his weeks in the hospital. But the family is faced with a constant dilemma: rest is key to his full recovery, and rest is the last thing he wants to do. He likes to rumble and play all day long. As he races up and down the stairs in his leg braces, shooting rubber bands with utter precision, his mom reminds him to take it easy and slow down. She does her best to divert his constant quest for action and speed with things that won’t drain his energy, like taking a welding class and learning to play guitar.
Caden’s decision to design the Air Jordan Retro 8 DB reflects his burning passion for the game of basketball, complete with flames on the outsole and his own basketball jersey number, 14, on the custom glow-in-the-dark, speckled upper design. A boom box on the inside of one tongue shares his love of music, while the other bears the name of his brother Ryland, who battled childhood cancer. And there’s also a special shout-out to both of his brothers Blake and Ryland, on the foot straps. Caden’s collection also includes a cap with the words “Hang loose,” “Rock on” and “Brave,” and a T-shirt that brings his passions for music, basketball and bravery together.
Missy Miller is one of 10 siblings. When she was 5 years old, her big sister, Laurie, died from a brainstem tumor. Laurie was one of the first Doernbecher Freestyle designers. The Miller family faced a new and unexpected health crisis the summer of 2013 when Missy experienced strong heart palpitations while away at camp. The palpitations went away, but kept coming back, so her parents took her to the doctor in September. A blood test revealed that she had Type 1 diabetes. The doctor also sent her for an echocardiogram at the hospital in Salem, Oregon, but the results were unclear. The OHSU Doernbecher team did another echocardiogram and then an MRI to confirm she had an atrial septum defect, or a hole in the heart. Suddenly, she was dealing with much more than a typical eighth-grader. Not only was she juggling school, sports, friends and family, she was also adjusting to a strict new diet, and having to find time to squeeze in open-heart surgery, which she scheduled during Christmas break so as not to interfere with her other activities.
Missy’s life is full. Always on the move, she plays volleyball and basketball, and loves to dance. With uncanny poise and grace, she does what has to be done. Her family and friends sustain her. Diabetes and a hole in her heart (since mended) won’t slow her down.
Her favorite colors are pink, turquoise, purple, grey, green and all that sparkles. These colors and a silver Swoosh form the basis of her design of the Women’s Free 5.0. The pinnacle of the design is the New York City skyline, where she dreams of seeing her name in lights. The skyline is on the heel and on the sockliner to remind her that the Big Apple is at her feet. Missy’s collection also includes the Windrunner jacket and the Leg-A-See tight, which both bear her signature and the NYC skyline pattern.
Alejandro Muñoz was born with kidneys that have never worked well and eventually will fail. He spent his first 12 days of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and trips to OHSU Doernbecher have become a frequent part of his life. He now takes five different medicines and gets a shot every Monday. He has his blood drawn every three to four weeks. That means he has been stuck with needles more than 100 times in his life. His blood tests show that his kidney function is always just a little too good to qualify for a kidney transplant, but not good enough to put their worries to rest.
In the meantime, Alejandro is a typically feisty and active 8-year-old boy. Last September he broke his arm when he fell off the top bunk while playing tag. He likes to play Power Rangers with his sister and brother, and he loves the San Francisco 49ers. He’s a good sport, and youth is his superpower — it protects his spirit. He’s now an avid flag football player, because while he might not be able to tackle on the gridiron, he will tackle whatever life throws at him.
Alejandro’s heroic spirit comes to life in his design of the Air Max Penny, which is inspired by his love of football. His personal drawings and designs are imprinted over the reflective base of the entire shoe, with a self-portrait on one of the tongues. He included a cool transparent outside with a glow-in-the-dark Swoosh and his name across the back of both shoes. Alejandro’s collection also includes shorts, a T-shirt and cap with his custom “AM” logo on each.
As first-time parents, Addie’s mother and father weren’t sure what was normal, but they instinctively knew something was not right with their newborn. She could not stop coughing. Months went by with no improvement and no answers. Finally, at age 1, Addie was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a serious lung disease with no cure, but a treatment plan that promised to extend her life. Addie wakes at 6:30 a.m. to take enzymes, antibiotics, steroids, vitamins and reflux medicine. After breakfast comes a one-hour nebulizer treatment to clear her lungs. At school she takes more pills and blows into a tube that forces her to cough. Once back home, she does another round with the nebulizer. Then more pills at dinner. And another nebulizer before bed. She periodically sleeps with a feeding tube to maintain proper nutrition.
Despite all of this, her illness does not define her. She is an accomplished violinist in a performing youth orchestra. She taught herself to play piano. She draws and writes poetry. She loves to ride her longboard to
the local hangout with her friends. She dreams of going to Italy someday. At 15, she is on the cusp of becoming a young adult and is proud of her recently acquired driver’s permit. She is beginning to think about things like college and life beyond her parents’ house. In other words, aside from being a patient, she is a thriving, curious, creative “girl-soon-to-be-young woman.”
Addie’s playfulness and sophistication shines on her design of the Women’s Nike Air Max Thea, complete with heel-to-toe polka dots and a black lace pattern backed with reflective material. Her mantras — “fight like a girl” and “just breathe” — is emblazoned on each shoe, along with a music-inspired logo on the heel and a picture of her dog, Toby, on the tongue. Addie’s collection also includes a hoody adorned with music notes and a backpack with a picture of her other dog, Mickey.
About the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection
The partnership between Nike and OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital began in 2004, inspired by a conversation that Nike Global Creative Presentation Director Michael Doherty, who serves on the board of directors of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation, had with his son about a way to raise awareness and funds for the hospital. The idea began as patients designing one-of-a-kind shoes to benefit the hospital. Beginning that first year and every year since, the Doernbecher Freestyle project has brought together a group of OHSU Doernbecher patients with Nike designers and developers to create products that are truly unique to each patient. It’s a collaboration, but with the patients at the center of the design process — deciding the colors, materials and details for each shoe to reflect their individual personalities and life experiences.
The 2014 Doernbecher Freestyle Collection will be available beginning Sunday, Nov. 23, on nike.com and at select* Nike retail locations across the country, with all proceeds from the sales of the collection benefitting OHSU Doernbecher.
* Nike Georgetown, Nike San Francisco, NIKETOWN New York, Nike Roosevelt Field, NIKETOWN Los Angeles, Nike Lenox, Nike Las Vegas, Nike Portland, Nike Chicago and Nike Dallas.
UPDATE: The Air Max Penny Limited Edition DB and Missy's Nike Free 5.0 DB (Women's and Grade School) will be available beginning Saturday, Dec. 6. Addie's Tech Fleece, Alejandro's Tee, Missy's Leg-A-See Tight, Chase's AW77 Hoody and Missy's Windrunner will also be available at a later date—follow @Nikestore on Twitter for launch details.
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