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By kids, for kids: Presenting the 2022 Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designers

Celebrated partnership with Nike has raised nearly $31 million for children’s hospital
On Friday, October 28, six young patients from OHSU Doernbecher will virtually reveal their personally designed Nike sneaker, apparel and equipment collections. The Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designers are (L-R): Riddhi Mahajan, Jaren Heacock, Kylee Young, Emerson Harrell, Coley Miller and Dario Villaseñor Valdivia. (Jason Hill)
On Friday, October 28, six young patients from OHSU Doernbecher will reveal their personally designed Nike sneaker, apparel and equipment collections. The Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designers are (L-R): Riddhi Mahajan, Jaren Heacock, Kylee Young, Emerson Harrell, Coley Miller and Dario Villaseñor Valdivia. (Jason Hill)

The 18th Doernbecher Freestyle program — a partnership between Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Nike — will return to an in-person format for the first time since 2019, prior to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Six young patients from OHSU Doernbecher have been working closely with expert Nike creative teams to design their very own sneaker, apparel and equipment collections. The big reveal will come in October.

These highly sought-after collections represent each patient-designer’s medical journey, interests and relationships with loved ones and health care providers. Importantly, the collections also provide a unique opportunity for each child to give back to the hospital that helped save their lives.

Since 2004, Doernbecher Freestyle has engaged 110 patient-designers and hundreds of Nike employee-volunteers to make each patient’s design dreams come true.

Over the years, each collection has been auctioned and sold — with Nike donating 100% of the retail profits to OHSU Doernbecher — to raise nearly $31 million for the children’s hospital. This one-of-a-kind collaboration between OHSU Doernbecher and Nike has helped to cover the cost of care for families in need, expand pioneering research that benefits kids around the world, and support specialized care unavailable anywhere else in the region.

“Without philanthropy like this generous partnership with Nike, its retailers and the Doernbecher Freestyle program, OHSU Doernbecher might not be able to deliver the exceptional care that we are honored to provide 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 physician-in-chief for OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. “This program is not only a joy for our patients to participate in, the support it provides is also vital to helping children who become our patients in the future.”

Meet the Doernbecher Freestyle XVIII patient-designers:

Coley Miller stands near a wall of fabric swatches.

Coley Miller

Age: 11

Hometown: Chiloquin, Oregon

Diagnosis: Kidney transplant

Favorite sport: Basketball

Perfect day: Playing outside with family

When I grow up: I want to be a veterinarian.

 

Dario Villaseñor Valdivia stands near fabric swatches.

Dario Villaseñor Valdivia

Age: 13

Hometown: Vancouver, Washington

Diagnosis: Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia

Secret talents: Voice impressions, singing and jokes

When I grow up: I want to be an animator.

Perfect day: Eating Chinese food and seeing the people I love

 

Emerson Harrell stands near fabric swatches.

Emerson Harrell

Age: 15

Hometown: Sherwood, Oregon

Diagnosis: Irritable bowel disease (IBD)
Heroes: My parents

Secret talent: I’m a good dancer.

Favorite school subject: Math — I’m good at doing it in my head.

 

Jaren Heacock stands by fabric swatches.

Jaren Heacock

Age: 10

Hometown: Springfield, Oregon

Diagnosis: Cleft palate

Favorite athletes: My brother and sisters

When I grow up: I want to be an engineer, artist, designer — and maybe a doctor.

Fun fact: I like to sing and grow plants.

 

Kylee Young sits near fabric swatches.

Kylee Young

Age: 12

Hometown: Ridgefield, Washington

Diagnosis: Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) survivor

Favorite color: Pink, then the rest of the rainbow

Secret talent: Making friends

Perfect day: See my family and go on an adventure

 

Riddhi Mahajan stands near fabric swatches.

Riddhi Mahajan

Age: 15

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Diagnosis: Cystic fibrosis

Favorite athlete: Serena Williams

When I grow up: I want to be a doctor.

Prized possession: A pair of earrings from my late grandmother

 

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