Despite a grim prognosis, Matthew Walzer walks, speaks flawlessly and has earned a 3.9 grade-point average. But cerebral palsy continues to keep the 16-year-old from tying his shoes, an obstacle he hopes Nike can help him overcome.
Walzer penned a letter to the hallowed shoe company’s CEO Mark Parker on Tuesday, asking Nike to make an athletic shoe with a closure system that doesn’t require lacing (H/T Mashable). The aspiring journalist, who has flexibility in only one of his hands, has tried wearing slip-ons, but none offer the proper support for him to play sports.
“At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. I find this extremely frustrating, and at times, embarrassing," the Florida high schooler writes in his letter posted to his blog. “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday.”
To get his campaign off of the ground, Walzer contacted leading sneaker blog Nice Kicks for help and publisher Matt Halfhill immediately got on the case.
“I promised Matthew that I would do whatever I could to have Mark [Parker] see the letter,” Halfhill says in his YouTube video. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we have a little bit of fun with it?’”
Halfhill stayed up until 3 a.m. Wednesday filming a video about Walzer’s cause and has called on Twitter users to post it with the hashtag #NikeLetter. For every tweet, Nice Kicks will send a postcard to Nike's CEO -- signed by each participating Twitter user.
“Our hopes are that we can get a bunch of these filling up a USPS truck to drop off in Beaverton [at Nike headquarters],” Halfhill says.
It’s a shot that Walzer is banking on to help make his dream come true.
“I believe everyone, no matter what their physical, economic, or social circumstances may be, deserves to call themselves an athlete,” Walzer writes, “and deserves to have a sense of freedom and independence.”
To get involved in the cause, tweet Matt Halfhill's post with the hashtag #NikeLetter.
Click through the slideshow below to see who’s supporting the #NikeLetter campaign.