Nike And Doernbecher Children's Hospital Unite To Empower Kids By Design
Dec 22,2006 00:00 by Bend Weekly News Sources
The third annual Doernbecher Freestyle project reunites Nike and Portland, Oregon-based Doernbecher Children's Hospital in a fund-raising campaign that allows creative young patients the opportunity to design Nike footwear. The patients, who have battled serious illness, are granted complete artistic license as they work with Nike designers through the entire process of design, from selecting a shoe style to choosing materials, colors and patterns. Just in time for the holidays, this philanthropic partnership provides a gift option that gives back to those who need it most.

The Doernbecher Freestyle line of footwear went on sale November 10, 2006. The shoes are available for purchase at www.niketown.com and at NikeTown stores across the country. All profits from the nationwide campaign are donated to Doernbecher Children's Hospital to benefit research, health care for uninsured children and new advances in medical technology. To date, the program has generated more than $500,000 for Doernbecher - and priceless experiences for some brave kids.

The first-time designers range in age from 12 to 17, and have courageously battled against Wilms tumor, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, caudal regression syndrome, neurosurgery and cystic fibrosis. These talented kids symbolize the perseverance of the 56,500 children from Oregon and beyond who receive treatment each year from Doernbecher - a world-class academic pediatric health center. Through the efforts of Doernbecher and Nike, these five young people get to make their mark while making a contribution to a noble cause.

During this holiday season take a moment to check out the colorful Doernbecher Freestyle line. With designs inspired from graffiti, school spirit and futuristic worlds, these shoes help you look good while helping others feel good. Of course, since these shoes were reinterpreted from current Nike basketball and dance styles, the performance is top notch as well. Boasting, amongst other things, laser-etched graphics, a map of the earth and the Chinese character for strength - something these kids know all about - this limited edition line represents footwear at its finest.

Shoes are priced from $80 to $130, depending on the style. Photos are available at http://www.ohsuhealth.com/dch/support/fund_freestyle.asp.

SUE NICOL, executive director of the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation, said the program is remarkable on multiple levels. It is simultaneously an effective fund-raising program, an uplifting opportunity for kids who have battled serious medical conditions and a source of national recognition for Doernbecher's high-quality programs. But in the world of philanthropy, she said, Freestyle also serves as a fantastic model for how a nonprofit can benefit from a strong relationship with its board members.

Originally proposed by Doernbecher Foundation Board Member MICHAEL DOHERTY, Nikes Global Presentation Creative Director, the program has proved to be equally rewarding to Nike and the designers who participate. Nike designer MARCUS TAYUI, who worked on the first two Doernbecher Freestyle projects, says, The best thing here is that we learn just as much from the kids as they learn from us. This year, fellow Nike designer MARK SMITH took over the projects reins and continued the collaborative effort, giving shape to the young patients extraordinary vision.

This years Doernbecher Freestyle design team includes:

* TESS BEACH, 12, a 7th grader at Cal Young Middle School in Eugene, who was treated at Doernbecher for a Wilms tumor. Her basketball shoe pays homage to her love of travel.

* KENNY CLEGG, 12, a 7th grader at Ogden Middle School in Oregon City, who had neurosurgery at Doernbecher to relieve seizures. His basketball shoe is a sci-fi collage of circuitry, chrome plating, and even a Cyclops eye he drew himself.

* LANCE DILLON, 17, a LaPine High School senior. Designed with input from a professional graffiti artist, Lances shoe is packed with powerful messages about his life and his fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

* BRYANT KING, 15, a sophomore at Marist High School in Eugene, who has been through two kidney transplants as a result of caudal regression syndrome. As the manager of his high school basketball team, Bryant naturally went with the Marist Spartans blue and metallic gold colors for his shoe.

* PHOEBE MATTERA, 16, a junior at the Arts & Communications Magnet Academy in Portland, who has cystic fibrosis. Her stylish women's fitness/dance shoes add an element of cool sophistication to this years Freestyle line.

The Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation
(www.doernbecherfoundation.org) 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.