These 6 Nike Sneakers Have Emotional Messages Designed by Hospitalized Kids

Since 2004, Nike has allowed a few of the young patients at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, to create their very own sneakers. Thus far, the program has raised nearly $24 million for Doernbecher, with all of the profits benefiting the hospital, which is part of Oregon Health & Science University.

Now in its 15th year, the collection will be available on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers and partner stores on Dec. 7.

The six kids that helped designed the Doernbecher Freestyle 2019 collection include Desiree Castillo, Kahleah Corona, Ethan Ellis, Bransen Fernando, Sawyer Miller and Zion Thompson.

Castillo chose the Nike SB Zoom Janoski RM as her canvas, featuring a blue velvet upper with the names of her family members printed on the midsole. Blood droplet graphics cover the translucent outsole to symbolize the finger pokes she needs to monitor her blood sugar levels.

Desiree Castillo Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Desiree Castillo’s Nike SB Zoom Janoski RM.

Corona opts for the React Element 55 model that’s executed with bright colors and glittery materials to highlight her bright personality along with her favorite emoji printed on the React midsole. A green ribbon on the tongue represents the traumatic brain injury she suffered at an early age.

Kahleah Corona Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Kahleah Corona’s Nike React Element 55.

The lone Air Jordan sneaker in the collection comes from Ellis, who has designed a new iteration of the AJ 14 with colors referencing his favorite college team, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. Number “6” on the heel represents the number of heart surgeries he has had, and the laces list the names of the hospitals where he has received care.

Ethan Ellis Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Ethan Ellis’ Air Jordan 14.

Bransen has a special pair of the Air Max Triax 96 that features a kidney print on the sockliner, which represents the new kidney he received at Doernbecher; the date of the procedure is written on the tongue.

Bransen Fernando Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Bransen Fernando’s Nike Air Max Triax 96.

Miller chose the Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2 for his sneaker. The shoe features a bright green upper inspired by a T-shirt that the kids wore on Fridays while recovering from brain surgery.

Sawyer Miller Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Sawyer Miller’s Nike Zoom Pegasus Turbo 2.

Thompson’s special Air Force 1 Low is inspired by her fight against lymphoma. The embroidered roses across the Swoosh serve as a metaphor for her cancer treatments as well as “Survivor” printed on the sockliner and outsole.

Zion Thompson Nike Doernbecher Freestyle 2019
Zion Thompson’s Nike Air Force 1 Low.


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