'Camp Chicago' kids receive special shoes from Nike

Some very special camp kids are getting some very special shoes, courtesy of Nike.

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- Some very special camp kids are getting some very special shoes, courtesy of Nike.

It’s called "Camp Chicago," and it's something pretty amazing.

Thirty children with disabilities, many of them in wheelchairs, got a chance to do things most other kids take for granted: swimming, bowling, a trip to the movies, and all of it was for free.

Pediatrician Lisa Thornton started ‘Camp Chicago’ 12 years ago, with the help of donations from Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and dozens of volunteers.

"We started it because I'd ask my patients 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' And they'd say I want to be like Mike. But they had no opportunity to really live that dream. So we started this camp to give them an opportunity to really feel like athletes," Dr. Thornton said.

And on the final day of camp, there was a big surprise: 30 pairs of Nike’s new Flylease footwear, which is a brand new shoe designed for people with disabilities who have trouble with hand function.

"For us, in the world of working with people with disabilities, this is transformative,” Dr. Thornton said. "All you have to do is grab the tab, open and just keep on going. The shoe opens up, you put your foot in, and then grab the tab and pull and it's back on."

The children got to see one of the shoes, but at $130 a pair, many can't afford them.

That’s when Dr. Thornton gave them all a surprise.

"It'd be great if you guys could pick up a pair. But guess what? You won't need to. Cause I've got a pair for everybody,” she said.

"They fit good. They're comfortable. I just thank Dr. Thornton cause they're so nice," said camper Keishawn Griffin.

"Some kids can't get out of the house to do like other kids do. So I think it's really cool how we get to have fun for a week and just relax," said camper Sarai Murray.

The shoes retail at $130, but were donated by the Nike employee who designed them after he received a letter from a boy with cerebral palsy asking for more accessible footwear.
 

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