Designing for Doernbecher: 'They saved my life'

EUGENE, Ore. - Chad Berg may be just shy of 16, but this West Albany High School student is making a difference in the lives of kids at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Berg is one of six former patients at Doernbecher that was selected by the staff to design a Nike shoe for the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection.

"The design itself is based quite a bit off of the Oregon Ducks uniforms and their gym colors," Berg said. "I was given just a totally blank slate that I could do whatever I wanted."

Berg was a patient at Doernbecher back in January when he and his father, Geoff, were in a kayaking accident on the Willamette River.

"I hit some debris in the water and then I fell into the water and I wasn't able to get back in my kayak," Berg said. "I don't really remember much after that."

Berg said he might not have survived had it not been for CPR from his father, paramedics, and physicians at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

"They saved my life and so I'm basically indebted to them, they did everything they could for me so now I've got to do everything I can for them," Berg said.

So now through designing his $120 pair of Nike shoes, he is helping raise money for the other sick kids at Doernbecher.

Berg said he also sees it as a chance to share his story of courage and survival.

"I chose to put a quote in this shoe," Berg said. "The quote says 'success is never final, failure is never fatal, it's courage that counts.'"

It is a story Berg said he is excited to share with everyone who purchases his pair.

"It will be a little bit crazy, when I can see it and go - 'oh I made that shoe,'" Berg said.

Berg is headed to Portland on Friday for a signing event where his shoes will be made available for purchase.

All proceeds from his shoes and the other five shoe designers will go to Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Berg's shoes can be purchased at any Niketown store or on-line at