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Doernbecher Freestyle goes virtual, tops $30 million raised since 2003

Program unveils and auctions special-edition Air Jordan 1 “What The” Doernbecher sneaker inspired by alumni patient-designers
Two shoes, angled view
The Air Jordan 1 "What The" Doernbecher was unveiled on February 25, 2021 during the Virtually Freestyle online auction. The special-edition sneaker features some of the most memorable elements for each of the program''s 14 previous Air Jordan designs. (NIKE, Inc.)

Every Doernbecher Freestyle sneaker tells a story, but this one tells many more.

In celebration of its 17th year, the Doernbecher Freestyle program unveiled an unforgettable tribute, not only to its nearly 100 alumni patient-designers, but to every single child that receives care at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

Featuring some of the most memorable elements from each of the program’s 14 previous Air Jordan sneaker designs, the exclusive Air Jordan 1 “What The” Doernbecher represents the teamwork, inspiration and creative spirit of the Doernbecher Freestyle program.

The limited-run AJ 1 “What The” Doernbecher was revealed during a special online event called Virtually Freestyle on Feb. 25. Marking the first time the program’s annual auction gala has been free and open to the public, Virtually Freestyle gave more than 2,000 donors and sneaker collectors from across the globe a front-row seat to see the extraordinary design for the very first time.

Virtually Freestyle donor gifts, sponsorship and  proceeds from an eBay auction - featuring 17 pairs of the coveted AJ 1 “What The” Doernbecher, and exclusive Doernbecher Freestyle apparel - raised more than $1.1 million to support OHSU Doernbecher. When coupled with a $1.8 million gift from Nike and its retail partners Shoe Palace, Sneaker Room and DTLR  from retail sales of the 2019 Doernbecher Freestyle collection, the cumulative total raised by the Doernbecher Freestyle program is now more than $30 million.

All funds raised benefit OHSU Doernbecher patients and staff in a variety of ways, from the delivery and discovery of advanced clinical treatment to emotional support and advocacy that helps to lift spirits and spread hope.

“Without philanthropy like what we receive from Nike, its retailers and the Doernbecher Freestyle program, OHSU Doernbecher might not be able to open its doors to provide high-quality care to children across Oregon and the region,” says Dana Braner, M.D., FAAP, FCCM, Credit Unions for Kids chair and professor of pediatrics (critical care) in the OHSU School of Medicine and physical-in-chief for OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. “This support is vital. It not only saves lives today but will save and improve lives far into the future.”

Check out Nike News for a closer look at the AJ1 “What The” Doernbecher.

DISCLAIMER: The online auction of the first of just 17 pairs of Air Jordan 1 “What The” Doernbecher sneakers, scheduled to take placed during the Feb. 25 Virtually Freestyle event, was proactively halted due to invalid bidding. To ensure a fair outcome, all 17 pairs of the special-edition sneaker were successfully auctioned on eBay March 2 - 7. A statement from the OHSU Foundation is available here.

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