Chase designed a hydrocephalus shoe for Nike…and it’s cool.
Chase lives with both hydrocephalus and seizures. He is a patient of Dr. Nathan Selden, a pediatric neurosurgeon with Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Chair of the OHSU Department of Neurological Surgery in Portland, Oregon, and the medical chair of the Hydrocephalus Association National Conference on Hydrocephalus that took place in Portland in 2014. As is the case with so many of our pediatric neurosurgeons, Chase and Dr. Selden have developed a close relationship over the years. So this year when there was a call for nominations for children to design Nike shoes in the annual Doernbecher Freestyle fundraiser supporting Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Dr. Selden submitted Chase’s name. Annually 20 children are nominated and 6 are ultimately selected.
Tami, Chase’s mom, remembers receiving the call in January. Over many visits to the hospital, Chase would see Nike shoes on display that were designed each year by patients like himself. Every year there would be a new set of shoes, and Chase loved looking at the display to see the unique designs. The family was ecstatic when Chase was selected. He began thinking about what his shoe design would incorporate.
The process was exciting. Chase received a call from Nike, headquartered in Portland, telling him which Nike model he would be designing – the Nike Air Max Zero. They gave him an outline of the shoe and said he could put anything on it he wanted. At home he worked on his design and then he sent it in to the team of designers. Chase met with one of the Nike design teams who reviewed his design with him to make sure they got it exactly to his specifications. His design incorporated two things that are very important to Chase. Living with hydrocephalus and lighthouses. On the tongue of his shoe he put a shunt valve, the tubing running on the outside of the shoe and “draining” into the sock liner. The inside of his shoe looks like a brain. There is a lighthouse where the Nike swoosh typically is placed that has a beam of light that glows in the dark. The design team worked with Chase to refine the design and choose the colors and materials before sending it to production.
Once all of the shoes were designed, they were readied for auction at an evening gala benefiting Doernbecher Children’s Hospital on October 28, 2016, that had over 650 people in attendance. Chase got to see his shoe completed for the first time. To his surprise, Russell Wilson, Quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, signed the shoe. Chase spent the evening answering questions from guests about the design and about what it is like to live with hydrocephalus. The shoe was auctioned for $21,000 to Nike’s COO, Erik Sprunk.
This past weekend, the downtown Portland Nike store opened early for an exclusive sale of a small run of the 6 Doernbecher Freestyle XIII designs from the kids at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Crowds lined up waiting for the opportunity to purchase the shoes, which retailed for $150.
Chase is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this experience. As if designing a shoe for Nike isn’t cool enough, he also got the meet the original designer of the Air Max Zero, Tinker Hatfield (who also designed the Air Jordan). They hung out for an hour, during which time Chase got to try on the Back to the Future self-lacing shoes.
See Chase’s Doernbecher Freestyle XIII experience!
Doernbecher Facebook Photo Album from the collection reveal and auction: http://www.facebook.com/pg/doernbecher/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10154110194118963
A post about Chase’s involvement at the Hydrocephalus Association Portland WALK: http://www.facebook.com/doernbecher/posts/10153961512023963?business_id=862404410438731
Purchase Chase’s shoe! NIKE Store – Search Air Max Zero