Medford boy working with Nike to create custom shoe design through Doernbecher Hospital

Medford, Ore.- Today NBC5 News talked to a young Southern Oregon boy who has a big job.

On the outside he looks like a normal 13 year old boy who loves star wars, plays an instrument, and has legos scattered across his room. But below the surface there’s a lot more to Ethan Frank.

One year ago Ethan was putting his dishes away when he started to seize. He fell to floor. His father picked him up and they called an ambulance. Ethan was rushed to the hospital.

It was then that the Frank family found out that Ethan had a brain tumor. It was a DNET (Dysembryoplastic Neuroepithelial) brain tumor. DNET brain tumors are benign. But it still scared Ethan because it left so much of the future unknown.

Weeks later, Ethan had brain surgery at Doernbercher Hospital in Portland. The surgery was nine and half hours.

“Once I woke up I knew I was alive and knew my life had been saved,” Ethan says.

Now the the brain tumor is gone and Ethan is healthy.

And out of the difficulty and stress of the brain tumor came a unique opportunity. The Doernbecher Freestyle Program at Doernbercher Hospital.

Ethan’s doctor nominated him and he was chosen to be one of nine kids working closely with a Nike design team to create his own Nike shoe. All of the proceeds from the shoes go to helping kids at Doernbercher.

NBC5 News was hoping to get a sneak peek but Ethan’s design is top secret. He can’t say any details regarding the design. Not even to his parents!

“We haven’t been a part of this at all ya know they don’t wanna talk to us,” Ethan’s father Matthew Frank says.

Ethan has been working on the design for over a year; commuting up to Portland to meet with Nike.
Even though he cant share details on his meetings with Nike up in Portland, he did tell NBC5 News that he’s excited to give back.

“I get to help people by having fun.”

And as the only kid in the program from Southern Oregon he’s proud to be the face of the Rogue Valley.

The official shoe design will be released later this year.


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