OHSU‘s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Nike have teamed up for another year to elevate the ideas of seven patient young designers for the 17th edition Doernbecher Freestyle Program.
The Doernbecher Freestyle Collection 2022 will be available to the general public later this spring and will include a range of classic and contemporary Nike footwear and apparel designed by young people inspired by their battles with medical conditions such as Von Hippel-Lindau disease, spina bifida, sickle cell anemia and other obstacles these children were bravely forced to tackle at such a young age, according to an OHSU press release.
In the photos provided below, take a look at each patient-designer’s signature shoe at this year’s Doernbecher Freestyle unveiling and learn about the battles they face with their health and how those battles inspired their designs. .
Ayman Wamala | Age: 13 | Hometown: Salem, Oregon
Nike Blazer Mid ’77
Born in Kenya, Ayman was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at an early age and began treatment at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital four years ago after his family moved to Portland. An avid football player who also plans to pursue a career in acting, Ayman also enjoys cooking and spending time learning about the woods and honing his own outdoor survival skills.
As part of this year’s collection, Ayman puts his own spin on a classic Nike silhouette, the Blazer Mid ’77. The design incorporates Ayman’s self-proclaimed mysterious alter-ego, a mind-reading character featured on the shoe’s tongue. Subtle tiger stripes on the midsole have a secret, too: they glow bright blue under UV light.
The words ‘Hope’, ‘Strength’ and ‘Perseverance’ surrounding the Ayman logo on the shoe help inspire those who wear them.
Catalina Vazquez | Age: 16 | Hometown: Kelso, Washington
Nike SB Zoom Stefan Janoski
Catalina’s decision to use this wild turquoise green color for her Nike Zoom Stefan Janoski 2022 shoes was inspired by her penchant for the Galapagos Islands, a place rich in discovery. The midsole features her own hand-drawn flowers that reflect her love of nature and the butterfly graphic on top embodies the changes Catalina has gone through in her life, especially after being diagnosed with Von Hippel-Lindau disease. .
Von Hippel-Lindau is a very rare hereditary disease that causes tumors to grow in several organs of the body. In Catalina’s case, they affected her eyes, spinal cord and brain, requiring five surgeries to remove them.
Despite having fought so many battles in hospital beds, Catalina remains strong and determined to let each operation serve as an opportunity to emerge stronger than before. It also helps motivate her to raise awareness about her illness as she works her way through.
Cidni O’Brien | Age: 16 | Hometown: Lebanon, Oregon
Nike Air Force 1 Fontanka
Cidni was diagnosed with an abnormal left coronary artery aortic origin in 2018. It means a crucial artery that directs blood to his heart isn’t doing the job. While the issue was thankfully identified, it also meant Cidni faced the prospect of major heart surgery at just 16.
But just six months after his surgery, Cidni was back on the pitch with Lebanon’s high school football team. Now Cidni begins her inspiring story told through these Air Force 1 Fontanka shoes that pay homage to her teammates and her family and the animals in her life who kept her outlook positive.
On these shoes, you’ll find homages to Cidni’s horse, Tank, his mother, Nikki, and one of his favorite foods adorning the outsole: shrimp pasta. But those are just a few of the many secret homages you’ll find woven into his new pair of kicks. You will have to hunt for others.
Maylee Phelps | Age: 15 | Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Nike Court Zoom Vapor Cage 4
Maylee Phelps was born with spina bifida, a disease in which the spine and spinal cord do not develop properly. Although she is confined to a wheelchair, it has not slowed her athletic aspirations. Maylee is currently ranked 11th in the junior wheelchair tennis player rankings and aspires to represent the United States at the Los Angeles Paralympic Games in 2028. To get here, Maylee had to undergo multiple surgeries at OHSU Doernbecher over the years. years to improve his mobility. but that did not stop his training, nor suppress his will to improve.
Maylee’s shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Cage 4 features a host of personal touches, including hand-drawn stars and a glossy multi-colored marbled outsole that incorporates all of her favorite colors. The tongue of the shoe features a spine graphic and a blue spina bifida awareness ribbon adorns the heel.
Michael Wilson | Age: 11 | Hometown: Dayton, Oregon
Air Jordan 5 Retro Low
Michael didn’t even spend two months in this world before facing his first major hurdle in life when he was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, a rare genetic disorder that destroys the protective covering of nerve cells in the brain. and the nervous system. Although the disease is often fatal, Michael and his family were able to get a diagnosis early enough to qualify him for a life-saving cord blood stem cell transplant performed at OHSU Doernbecher. It was a resounding success.
Now, a decade away from the procedure, Michael is enjoying the life of an 11-year-old who loves – among other things – airplanes, sharks and mac and cheese, all of which factor into the design of his Air. Jordan 5 Retro Low.
One of the most attractive features of the shoe will surely be the collection of unique patches that can be swapped on or off the tongue of the shoe to allow you to customize it to your own style.
Sam David Phelps | Age: 14 | Hometown: Portland, Oregon
LeBron XIX (19)
Much like his sister pictured above, Sam David Phelps doesn’t let his condition get in the way of his athletic accomplishments, especially where he plays: on the basketball court. Also, like his sister, Sam was born with spina bifida. Although his future goal is to play for the United States Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team, he is currently honing his craft at home playing for the Portland WheelBlazers.
It’s only fitting that Sam could design his own version of LeBron James’ signature shoe, the Lebron 19, for this year’s Freestyle collection, considering James is his favorite athlete. Sam took an opulent approach to the design of this shoe, some might even say it’s a design fit for a “king” with metallic gold panels, lighting bolts and a tribute to his condition with a logo. of sports wheelchair.
Zoe Taaffe | Age: 17 | Hometown: Tualatin, Oregon
Nike Dunk Low
There’s no doubt that Zoe Taaffe is a Ducks fan.
Zoe’s love for the University of Oregon is quite evident in the design of her shoe, the Nike Dunk low. That’s not the only part of his personality showcased on the shoe, however. Looking closer at the shoe, you can find Zoe’s name hidden among the zebra prints on the midsole. The outsole is made of glow-in-the-dark material, and an Oregon Duck-inspired nurse logo on the sockliner pays homage to her dreams of one day becoming a nurse.
Like her shoe, Zoe’s condition is rare. So rare in fact that when she was diagnosed with granulomatosis with polyangiitis during her sophomore year in high school, she became one of 1.2 million pediatric patients to have it. This autoimmune disease causes severe inflammation of blood vessels and his care at OHSU Doernbecher required multiple blood and plasma transfusions along with steroids and chemotherapy.
— Nike and OHSU Doernbecher contributed to this story.