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20 years of Doernbecher Freestyle: Presenting the 2024 patient-designers

Longstanding collaboration between OHSU Doernbecher, Nike supports life-saving care, cutting edge research
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Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designers collage photo by Nike
On Friday, October 18, six young patients from OHSU Doernbecher will reveal their personally designed Nike sneakers.

What started as a simple idea 20 years ago has now turned into an annual event that has raised nearly $37 million to benefit OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Since its inception in 2004, the Doernbecher Freestyle program has featured the incredible stories and creativity of 122 patient-designers and engaged over 330 Nike Design team employee volunteers and thousands of generous donors and community members. The longstanding partnership between Nike and OHSU Doernbecher gives young patients the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind footwear that is released and auctioned, with all profits benefiting the hospital where they received care.

The designs tell the patients’ personal stories of bravery, gratitude and hope. The profits from these sought-after designs have helped expand and support OHSU Doernbecher’s pioneering research and specialized care unavailable anywhere else in the region.

Now in its 20th year, the annual auction event will take place Oct. 18 at the Portland Art Museum.

“It’s incredible to reflect on the past 20 years and all of the people who have been impacted by this unique program,” said 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 of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. “Every year we are amazed and inspired by these kids and their creativity, spirit, passion and desire to give back. Twenty years marks a special milestone for the Doernbecher community, and we’re so grateful for the community support and industry partnerships that continue to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible.”

Meet the Doernbecher Freestyle 20 patient-designers:

Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Connor Kassing-Fernandez
Connor

CONNOR

  • Age: 13 
  • Hometown: Vancouver, Washington 
  • Diagnosis: Low-grade glioma 
  • Hero: My parents. 
  • Favorite movie: Any Star Wars movie.  
  • Secret talent: I’m really good at making friends.
  • Collection hint: I design sneakers and write songs.
Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Ja'kai Taylor
Ja'kai

JA’KAI

  • Age: 8 
  • Hometown: McMinnville, Oregon 
  • Diagnosis: Type 1 diabetes 
  • Favorite hobby: Playing video games.
  • Prized possession: My Dexcom and Omnipod — they help me stay alive.
  • Hero: My mom. 
  • Collection hint: You’ll find my favorite sport represented on my sneaker. 
Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Jillian Beagley
Jillian

JILLIAN

  • Age: 14 
  • Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon 
  • Diagnosis: Liver transplant, biliary atresia 
  • When I grow up: I want to play pro basketball or be a NICU nurse. 
  • What inspires me: Opportunities to help people. 
  • Dream destination: The Galapagos Islands.  
  • Collection hint: Sports play a big role in my life and on my sneaker.
Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Quin Nims
Quin

QUIN

  • Age: 9 
  • Hometown: Tangent, Oregon 
  • Diagnosis: Cloacal anomaly 
  • Favorite hobbies: Board games and hiking. 
  • Surprising fact: I’m tiny but strong.
  • Favorite athletes: Ashima Shiraishi and all female rock climbers. 
  • Collection hint: My personality isn’t the only thing that sparkles.
Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Sophia Jenkins
Sophia

SOPHIA

  • Age: 8 
  • Hometown: Lebanon, Oregon 
  • Diagnosis: Osteosarcoma 
  • Favorite possessions: My little blankie and my pickle stuffy. 
  • Favorite color: Bright pink. 
  • Hero: Taylor Swift. 
  • Collection hint: My sneaker incorporates one of my favorite foods.
Nike-OHSU Doernbecher Freestyle patient designer Tima Sviridenko
Tima

TIMA

  • Age: 11 
  • Hometown: Battle Ground, Washington 
  • Diagnosis: X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) 
  • Favorite food: Fettucine alfredo. 
  • Hero: My bone marrow donor. 
  • Life goal: Make a real-life robot cat. 
  • Collection hint: My pet makes an appearance on my sneaker.
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