7/31/2014

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'He flat-lined multiple times.' But boy roars back to create Nike shoe

'He flat-lined multiple times.' But boy roars back to create Nike shoe

ALBANY, Ore. – Chad Berg died in January.

"I was 71 degrees," he says about his body temperature.

"In Albany, in the emergency room, he flat-lined multiple times. Didn't have a pulse for a couple of hours," says his father, Geoff.

Chad and his father were kayaking on the Willamette when a tree flipped on Chad’s kayak. Albany firefighters pulled both him and his father from the 41-degree water.

It was a harrowing ordeal that left Chad, who will turn 16 on Saturday, in the hospital suffering with severe hypothermia and little memory of what happened or awareness for almost a week.

But now months later, he's taking a step in a new direction. Chad and five other OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital patients designed a special collection of Nike shoes called the Nike Doernbecher Freestyles. Each shoe tells a different story and Chad's is one of courage.

His recovery was so great that he ran cross-country in the spring.

Chad was nominated by his doctors at Doernbecher to head to Nike where a designer and developer brought the shoe he created to life in just one month.
"(It was) mostly inspired by the Oregon Ducks and their uniforms," he says.

He owns one pair – signed by LeBron James – for his display and another pair to wear.

Inside of the shoe is a quote that was also picked by Chad.

"It's a quote by John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach – it says, 'Success is never final; failure is never fatal; it's courage that counts.'"

Courage kept Chad going, and he's hoping these shoes will help others triumph too.

"It's very nice to give back to the ones who gave me so much," he says.

There are five other patient-designers who made shoes for the Nike Doernbecher Freestyle collection. All of the proceeds from the shoe sales will go to health care and research programs at OHSU Dorenbecher Children's Hospital.

The designers will all be at the Nike Store Friday to sign autographs and share their stories in person.

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