Here at GCASFM we’re big fans of fashion, whether it is the latest streetwear, the newest sneaker collaboration or the latest high street or designer trend. So when we heard that Nike had released the 2015 Doerenbecher Freestyle Collection and had given a platform to a young Crohn's sufferer, we had to investigate.
Since 2004, Nike has given children who are patients at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital the opportunity to create the shoe/sneaker of their wildest dreams, as part of their Doerenbecher Freestyle Collection and in doing so help to raise funds and awareness to the illnesses that make these brave and inspirational children regular patients at the hospital that is on the doorstep of Nike HQ.
The Freestyle Collection has raised a staggering $11 million to help expand the hospital’s pioneering research, support clinical care and allow them to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, recruit new experts and subsidize the cost of care for families in need, something that a brand of such magnitude should be commended for.
Whether it’s Nike’s incredibly skilled designers, developers and graphic artists travelling to OHSU Doernbecher to meet their new team members, or Doernbecher children having the opportunity to share their ideas at Nike HQ. The collaboration allows a meaningful exchange of skills, experience and creativity, led by six brave young children who inspire the world with their stories, giving them a platform to express themselves in a way so many don’t get the opportunity to do, for us at GCASFM we find this initiative very inspirational and think this kind of experience should be latched onto globally.
We came about this project simply by chance, whilst sifting online for Crohn’s disease related stories, we found out we’d just missed the boat with the launch of the 2015 collection, which hit the shelves on November 21st 2015. The searching lead us to a young guy called John Charles’s and his very eye-catching design to customize the Nike Air Jordan Xlll. Now young John is 11 years old, is very active despite suffering from Crohn’s disease. He plays football, partakes in gymnastics and wrestles, yes he’s pretty active. Since his diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, he’s discovered that he can add “able to swallow seven pills at once” to his impressive list of talents, this kid is a true inspiration simply by his determination to not let his illness hold him back.
Designing his signature AIR JORDAN XIII RETRO was a chance for John to share his unique skills and creative mind with the world. His shoe features his football shirt number, a cartoon kid with a one raised brow, a talent John proclaims to be good at and seven pills to represent the medicine he takes to keep his disease in check and give him the strength to pursue a normal kids lifestyle.
However, as his shoe goes to show that John’s life is much bigger than Crohn’s, with his twin brother Jonah, making an appearance on the sock liner, along with his pet German Shepherd Teagan. The design also incorporates an Egyptian pyramid, this representing his travel destination of choice, along with a nod to his favourite food on the lace tips.
One of the most powerful features of John’s design is on the sole of either shoe. When you upturn the shoe the word “Crohn’s” is written under a transparent outer sole. In his own words “When I’m walking, I want to literally stomp out the disease with every step!”. Along with this poignant statement the words COURAGE, STRENGTH and FIGHT adorn the surrounding midsole, showing John’s determination to not let the illness control him in every stride he takes in life….I hope he was given every size so he can continue to take these large steps in his growth as a young man. Respect to Nike for making this happen and a big ‘High 5!” to John for his imagination and determination.