Doernbecher Freestyle 10 // Nike Air Foamposite One by Elijah Diggins
intro // Brandon Richard
Last night, Nike and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Doernbecher Children’s Hospital celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Doernbecher Freestyle with simultaneous fundraising events in Portland and New York City. Since 2004, the program has empowered 58 young patients through design and raised more than $6 million dollars 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.
One of seven designers this year is 14-year old Elijah Smith, a brave Tualatin native battling Burkitt's Leukemia. Elijah had the opportunity to work on the Air Foamposite One and a matching Windrunner, which you can view in detail below.
Doernbecher Freestyle 10 launch is set for Saturday, November 9 at nike.com and selection Nike retail locations.
Elijah Diggins, 14
Nike Air Foamposite One and Windrunner
Elijah likes to play baseball and says he’s a pretty good pitcher. His baseball team actually won the state championship and his dad is quick to point out all the boards that have been knocked out of their garden shed by his son’s killer throw. Behind his modesty is a tenacious kid with untold reserves of strength who was put to the test last year when he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia and underwent a tough course of chemo.
When faced with the opportunity to tell his story through the Nike Air Foamposite, Elijah poured his heart into it. His design features his very own smiley-face logo, which turns into his initials when viewed sideways. The fiery red and black palette is a tribute to his favorite athlete, Lebron James. On the tongue, Japanese characters symbolize courage, along with Elijah’s signature. A chain-link graphic on the sockliner is taken straight from his most prized possession—a silver bracelet that was a gift from his parents when he began chemotherapy.
For Elijah, his design is a very personal thank-you note to the place that he credits with saving his life. “When I was in the hospital, I kept thinking ‘Doernbecher has done so much for me—how am I going to give back?’”
100% of the auction and the retail proceeds go to Doernbecher. Nike, a $25B company with a highly effective marketing machine, a global sales force and distribution, retail stores, an online presence, and a huge global brand, does not need 5/6 patients from a hospital in Portland to help sell shoes.