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Introducing the 2017 Doernbecher Freestyle patient-designers

Program expands to include nine patients; inspirational Nike designs to be auctioned, sold to benefit children’s hospital

Since its inception in 2004, the Doernbecher Freestyle program has raised nearly $17 million for OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. To celebrate the ongoing community support and interest in this one-of-a-kind fundraiser, which pairs hospital patients with NIKE, Inc. designers to create custom shoe and apparel collections, the 2017 program has increased the number of patient-designers from six to nine.

The 2017 Doernbecher Freestyle patient-designers are:

  • Brayden Sparkman, 13, Salem, Oregon
  • Carissa Navarro, 8, Springfield, Oregon
  • Joe MacDonald, 14, Gresham, Oregon
  • Brody Miller, 11, Portland, Oregon
  • Ethan Frank, 13, Medford, Oregon
  • Amyiah Robinson, 11, Portland, Oregon
  • Andrew Merydith, 15, Springfield, Oregon
  • Sophia Malinoski, 10, Portland, Oregon
  • Tylan Hibbard, 15, Eugene, Oregon

“This extraordinary program honors the creativity, strength and spirit of every child and family that visits OHSU Doernbecher,” said Dana Braner, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.C.C.M., physician-in-chief and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, OHSU Doernbecher, OHSU School of Medicine. “Philanthropy, such as Doernbecher Freestyle, enables us as health care providers, educators, scientists and advocates to do our jobs, and continue to be a resource for every child and family that needs the world-class services OHSU Doernbecher provides. This program allows the world to see our children as we and Nike already do, as superstars. We are ever grateful to Nike, as well as a vast community of institutional and individual supporters, for their efforts to improve the lives of children across Oregon, Southwest Washington and beyond.” 

Doernbecher Freestyle was conceived by Michael Doherty, Senior Creative Director of Nike Global Brand Presentations and longtime board member of the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation, after his son suggested Nike produce limited-edition shoes to honor patients and benefit the hospital.

Each year, hospital physicians, nurses and staff nominate patients ages 8 - 15 from around Oregon and Southwest Washington to participate in the program. The selected kids work side-by-side with dedicated Nike design and development teams to brainstorm ideas, select materials and work with vendors to make even the most extraordinary visions come to life. These young patients use their designs to express powerful personal messages — sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical — about their life experiences, medical journey and hopes for the future. The program provides an opportunity for each patient designer to help other kids at the same hospital that changed their lives.

Later this year, the footwear and apparel designs will be revealed and made available for purchase. All proceeds will be donated to OHSU Doernbecher to expand pioneering research, support clinical care, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, recruit new pediatric experts and help cover the cost of care for families in need.


Meet the Doernbecher Freestyle XIV Patient-Designers 


Brayden Sparkman, 13

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Brayden Sparkman, 13, Salem, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Hometown: Salem, Oregon

Favorite Sport: Baseball

Secret talent: Pitching hard for his age

Favorite subject in school: Math




Carissa Navarro, 8

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Carissa Navarro, 8, Springfield, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Bilateral renal agenesis, end stage kidney disease (born without kidneys)

Hometown: Springfield, Oregon

Did you know? Carissa has a twin sister

Favorite activity: Playing Minecraft

Perfect day: Playing basketball on a summer day




Joe MacDonald, 14

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Joe MacDonald, 14, Gresham, Oregon. (OHSU/Fritz Liedtke)

Diagnosis: Burkitt leukemia

Hometown: Gresham, Oregon

Prized possession: Autographed Clay Matthews jersey

Favorite subject in school: Social studies

Dream job: Football player and a counselor at camp for cancer survivors and siblings




Brody Miller, 11

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Brody Miller, 11, Portland, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Complex dural arteriovenous fistula (complex brain malformation)

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Favorite activities: Drawing and archery

Favorite sport: Baseball

Hidden talent: Expert on superheroes




Ethan Frank, 13

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Ethan Frank, 13, Medford, Oregon. (OHSU/Fritz Liedtke)

Diagnosis: Brain tumor

Hometown: Medford, Oregon

Did you know? Ethan has a second-degree black belt

Secret talent: Playing the trumpet

Perfect day: A road trip with family





Amyiah Robinson, 11

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Amyiah Robinson, 11, Portland, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Sickle cell anemia, indeterminate colitis

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Favorite sports: Football and basketball

Perfect day: No school and lots of candy

Favorite hobbies: Playing sports and making art







Andrew Merydith, 15

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Andrew Merydith, 15, Springfield, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Cystic fibrosis

Hometown: Springfield, Oregon

Secret talent: Running very fast

Favorite subject in school: History

Perfect day: Earning an A+ on finals and scoring the winning touchdown




Sophia Malinoksi, 10

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Sophia Malinoski, 10, Portland, Oregon. (OHSU/Fritz Liedtke)

Diagnosis: Brain tumor

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Secret talent: Can kick with left and right foot in soccer

Favorite activities: Climbing trees, reading and sports

Perfect day: Eating strawberry shortcake for breakfast, lunch and dinner



Tylan Hibbard, 15

Doernbecher Freestyle 2017
Tylan Hibbard, 15, Eugene, Oregon. (OHSU/Dan Root)

Diagnosis: Truncus arteriosus (congenital heart defect)

Hometown: Eugene, Oregon

Personal motto: Be kind

Secret talent: Doing wheelies on a bike

Favorite activities: Quad riding and fishing


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