On November 30, the ninth annual Doernbecher Freestyle Collection – a collaboration of sneakers between Nike and patients at the Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital – will be available to the public.  While the sneakerhead community will be eagerly awaiting the release of these kicks, we would like to thank and honor the children who played the most important role – actually designing them.  Doernbecher has put together a series of videos detailing the lives of the children involved in this year’s Freestyle Collection and we are encouraging you to watch them prior to the release of the sneakers.

As sneakerheads, we like to tell the stories behind the sneakers that we wear.  Whether it’s our own personal journey to get them or whether it’s the iconography on the shoes themselves that tell the story of the person they were made for, “storytelling” has become as much a part of the sneaker lexicon as “colorway” or “south beach.”  The Doernbechers are no different than anything Michael Jordan or LeBron James has ever put out; they tell a story as well, they just so happen to tell a different story.

Each child that has ever designed a sneaker in the Freestyle Collection has endured more trials and hardships in their young lives than most of us who are now adults have ever gone through or can even imagine.  Each pair of kicks, whether it’s the Jordans that most of you will go after or any of the other gems in the Freestyle Collection, are a story of strength, courage, perseverance and hope.  When you wear these kicks, we hope that you know the name of child who put it together and that you understand their story.

And while most of you reading this now will probably not get the pair that you want because of the overwhelming demand for them, we encourage you to give back to not only Doernebecher Hospital (you can start by sharing the videos on social media to get more people aware of them) if you can but to your local health facility (or to our charity partner, charity:water).  Whether it’s time, money or blood, every little bit helps.

Note: The following excerpts are taken from Nike’s press release. We want to thank Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation for sharing these videos with Kicks on Fire.

Doernbecher Nike Dunk Hi SB by Finnigan Mooney (10 years old)

“Finnigan Mooney (10) was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He’s toughed out more than 13 heart surgeries during his life, but his positive attitude and infectious sense of humor have remained unscathed. In addition to making new friends, he loves playing basketball, jumping on his trampoline, and perfecting his killer golf game.  Finnigan’s design is representative of his sunny personality and smile, with an in-your-face yellow upper emblazoned with ‘THUMP THUMP’ to pay homage to his unstoppable heart. The Nike swoosh is affixed with medical stitches to symbolize the stitches from his surgeries. His actual thumbprint appears on the outsole of the shoe—a nod to how Finnigan would always give his parents a thumbs-up when he came out of surgery. And paying tribute to his Irish heritage, Finnigan also included a shamrock on the tongue.”