The partnership between Nike and Portland, Oregon-based Doernbecher Children's Hospital began in 2004. Michael Doherty, Nike's Creative Director and a Doernbecher Foundation board member, was discussing with his son, Connor, ways to raise money for the hospital. Connor suggested that Nike create one-of-a-kind shoes and put them online.
With this simple idea in mind, Michael toured the hospital with Nike shoe designers. It was designer Marcus Tayui's vision to take the idea one step further by having patients design the shoes with proceeds directly benefitting the hospital that helped save their lives.
To date, the Nike Doernbecher Freestyle project has raised nearly $6 million.
Every year, Nike designers and developers partner with Doernbecher patients who have fought serious illnesses to build a shoe unique to each patient. The children are the actual designers, choosing the colors, styles and materials that reflect their stories and personalities.
The shoes are unveiled in the fall during a special launch party featuring more than 300 businesses and community leaders. Those in attendance can meet each designer in person and bid on the limited-edition shoes. Limited quantities are also available on Nike.com and select Nike retail locations nationwide. Visit the Nike.com Launch Calendar for shoe launch dates and more information.