Matthew Walzer was just 16 when he sent a letter to the Nike headquarters 3 years ago explaining his condition and how he struggles to find sneakers that he can put on himself without having to reply on his parents to tie them up for him.
In the letter, Matthew explains that he was born 2 months premature and, because his lungs weren’t fully developed, his brain didn’t get as much oxygen as it needs to function resulting in a brain injury that causes him to suffer from cerebral palsy. The condition can affect people differently, sometimes, physically, sometimes mentally, sometimes both, Matthew is only affected physically and was told by doctors that he would never walk and if he ever talked it would be with a lisp. Matthew managed to beat the odds and can walk unassisted around his family home and with the use of crutches around school and town, he also doesn’t speak with a lisp.
Despite overcoming so many challenges, Matthew still struggled with putting shoes on. Just buying slip ons would be no use as they don’t have enough support, so he tended to buy Nike basketball sneakers as they have much more support, however he needs help to get them on. After becoming far more independent than anyone ever expected, Matthew wanted to go to college but was worried he’d be embarrassed about having to have someone with him to put his shoes on for him and so sent off his letter to renowned Nike designer, Tobie Hatfield.
Tobie & Matthew have spent the last few years back and forth with design ideas and earlier this summer Tobie sent Matthew the first ever pair of the new Nike FLYEASE sneakers that he helped create and he also met his hero LeBron James!
Check the story on the Nike website HERE or watch the video below for more info: