Shoes For Hope: Stylized Sneakers Make More Than a Fashion Statement

January 26, 2024 By Traci Hale, Traci Hale,

Game-day gear took on a new look at John Paul Jones Arena as the University of Virginia men’s and women’s basketball coaches and UVA President Jim Ryan donned hand-painted kicks to help raise awareness and funds for children fighting cancer.

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For the second year in a row, UVA basketball teamed with the UVA Health Children’s Pediatric Oncology program to participate in Shoes for Hope, supporting pediatric cancer patients and their families. In December, players and coaches joined young patients to put their artistic talents to the test, fashioning donated pairs of new Nike Air Force Ones. Players, coaches and Ryan autographed the custom sneakers, which were then available to the highest bidder through an online auction that was scheduled to end Sunday.

Bright colors, special messages and children’s illustrations are just some of the art found on the custom shoes pediatric cancer patients and UVA players and coaches created. (Photo by Matt Riley, University Communications)

Patients and their families were in attendance as the men’s coaching staff sported the stylish shoes in Wednesday’s 59-53 overtime win against Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina State University. The women’s coaches debuted their shoes in Thursday’s home game versus Pitt.

Patients and their families were treated to an exciting game Wednesday as the Cavaliers beat North Carolina State University, 59-53 in overtime. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

The annual event was inspired by the Coaches vs. Cancer partnership between the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society.

The UVA women’s coaching staff sported their stylish sneakers as the team prepared to take on Pitt Thursday at John Paul Jones Arena. (Photo by Emily Faith Morgan, University Communications)

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Traci Hale

Senior Editor University Communications