words // Luis Sanchez
photography // Jotham Porzio
Founded back in 2004, Nike's Doernbecher Freestyle Program has done more than just raise money for the Portland-based children's hospital. They've brightened up the lives of countless young patients through even the darkest of times with unique footwear designs telling each participants own heartfelt story.
The Nike x Doernbecher Freestyle Program was brought to life when Nike Creative Director of Global Brand Presentation and Doernbecher board member Michael Doherty and his son Connor began to eagerly brainstorm for ways to raise money for the hospital. Connor came up with the idea of Nike creating shoes to raise money, leading his father to visit the Doernbecher Hospital with Nike Designer Marcus Tayui for inspiration. Tayui was immediately hit with the vision of patients designing shoes with the Swoosh, and having the proceeds benefit the hospital in all ways possible.
Now in their tenth year, the Nike x Doernbecher Freestyle Program has helped raise over $6 million for the children's hospital, making many things possible such as hospital expansion, clinical programs and helping make sure uninsured children still receive the care they need.
Throughout the course of the freestyle program, countless young patients have told their remarkable stories over some of the most iconic Nike and Air Jordan styles of our time. We connected with young Isaiah Scott through his unique Air Jordan 4, Anthony Roletto with his one of a kind SB Vulc-Rod, and of course, Cole Johanson with his unforgettable Air Jordan 3 design to name a few.
Each shoe has left a lasting impression and raised unmatched amounts of money for the Doernbecher Children's hospital, helping lead up this year's 10th anniversary celebration and charity auction for the Doernbecher Freestyle x Nike Dunk High 10th Anniversary limited collection.
The auction-only shoes tell the biggest story of them all with a design brought to life by longtime Doernbecher contributor Mark Smith and the Nike ZOO. Both shoes are covered in a unique graphic design which features the names of each and every participating patient of the past ten years included. 3M accents and electroluminescent lights specifically created by the Zoo's Special Operations Team throughout the shoe symbolize the energy and fight in the young patients through even the darkest of times, matching the limited edition t-shirt and hoodie also included as part of the collection. The milestone-marking Dunk High arrives in unique wooden packaging, featuring laser graphics, glow in the dark detailing and a simple charging set-up for the electroluminescent detailing seen on the shoes.
The Nike x Doernbecher Freestyle 10th Anniversary Collection will be auctioned off during the Doernbecher Freestyle X unveiling this Saturday, September 28th at 5:30 at the Portland Art Museum. All funds raised from the auction will benefit the Doernbecher Children's Hospital and help save the lives of countless future patients.
A second Nike x Doernbecher Freestyle 10th Anniversary Collection will be auctioned off on Saturday night in New York City at an invite only event held by the Swoosh at the Nike Flatiron Building.