Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII returns in person for the big reveal

Doernbecher Freeestyle XVIII designers, left to right, Emerson Harrell, Dario Villaseñor Valdivia, Kylee Young, Jaren Heacock, Coley Miller and Riddhi Mahajan pose with Dana BranerDana Braner, MD, FAAP, FCCM, President of Credit Unions for Children and Professor of Pediatrics (Critical Care) at the OHSU School of Medicine, and Chief Medical Officer of OHSU Children’s Hospital Doernbecher, back left, OHSU Child Life therapy dog ​​Davis, and Director Nike Global creative, Michael Doherty, back right. (OHSU/Jordan Sleeth)

The 18th Doernbecher Freestyle Program — a partnership between Oregon Health and Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Nike — held its first in-person patient-designer sneaker reveal event on Friday since 2019, before the global coronavirus pandemic.

Six young OHSU Doernbecher patients worked closely with the expert creative teams at NIKE, Inc. to design their own collections of sneakers, apparel and gear. The big reveal, held at the Portland Art Museum, saw patient-designers show off their one-of-a-kind creations to an enthusiastic audience, followed by an auction to benefit Children’s Hospital, which provides care Oregon’s most comprehensive children’s resorts.

The highly sought-after collections represent each patient-designer’s medical journey, interests and relationships with loved ones and clinicians. Importantly, collections also provide a unique opportunity for each child to give back to the hospital that helped save their life. The full collection will be available on SNKRS, the Nike App, and select retailers in early 2023.

Since 2004, Doernbecher Freestyle has engaged 110 patient designers and hundreds of NIKE, Inc. employees who donate their time to fulfill each patient’s design dreams. The program has produced more than 100 unique collections – including shoes, hoodies, hats and backpacks – as well as a University of Oregon Ducks football uniform, all designed by young OHSU Doernbecher patients. Alongside their individual team of NIKE, Inc. designers and developers, each collection tells a patient’s personal story of bravery, creativity, gratitude and hope.

“Freestyle is amazing, and my favorite night of this year or any year. These six kids are showing us courage, perseverance and generosity, giving back to a hospital and the people who got them through some of the toughest times of their young lives,” said Dana Braner, MD, FAAP, FCCM, Chief Physician at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital; and, President of Children’s Credit Unions, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, OHSU School of Medicine. “Our future lies with our children, and each year Freestyle again shows that our future is in excellent hands. Thank you to everyone who makes this possible. Our children can show themselves to the world as the superstars they are because of your efforts.

Over the years, each collection has been auctioned off and sold — Nike donating 100% of retail profits to OHSU Doernbecher — to raise more than $33 million for the children’s hospital. This one-of-a-kind collaboration between OHSU Doernbecher and Nike has helped cover the cost of care for families in need, expand pioneering research that benefits children around the world, and support specialized care unavailable elsewhere in the region.

This year’s auction raised nearly $1 million to support OHSU Doernbecher’s lifesaving mission. To learn more about the Doernbecher Freestyle program, visit the OHSU Foundation website.

Coley Miller

Coley Miller, the patient designer of Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII, poses with items designed by Miller. (Jordan Sleeth)

Dario Villase or Valdivia

Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designer Dario Villaseñor Valdivia. (Jordan Sleeth)

Emerson Harrel

Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designer Emerson Harrell. (Jordan Sleeth)

Jaren Heacock

Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designer Jaren Heacock. (Jordan Sleeth)

Kylee Young

Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient designer Kylee Young shows off her designs. (Jordan Sleeth)

Riddhi Mahajan

Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designer Riddhi Mahajan. (Jordan Sleeth)

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