Babies born in Delaware this weekend received a special gift encouraging them to reach for the stars.
In celebration of Delaware native Elena Delle Donne and the U.S. Women’s Basketball team’s Olympic gold medal performance in Rio, Nike donated a pair of its Waffle 1 baby shoes to each baby born at Christiana Hospital.
On Sunday, the pint-sized shoes were presented to 35 newborns and their families.
“We thought it was really cool,” said Anne-Jeannette Stachowski of Wilmington, whose daughter June received the shoes. “We’re big sports fans. We watched the Olympics. And of course, [Elena is] a local, she’s from local schools we’ve been around.”
The shoes came with a commemorative box, printed with a list of milestones parents can check off, ranging from rolling over to breaking a world record.
The box also included a special message about Delle Donne—an Ursuline Academy and University of Delaware athlete and graduate who currently plays for the Chicago Sky basketball team. Over the weekend, Delle Donne helped the U.S. Women’s Basketball team win gold medals in Rio.
The message reads; “It all starts now. 26 years ago, it started in Wilmington for a little champ just like you. And today, Elena Delle Donne conquered the world. Maybe, someday, that could be you. Or maybe you’ll choose to do something else. There really are no limits to your potential. Whatever you decide, get up. Get out. And get started. Life moves fast. And in these, it will move a little faster. Just do it. Unlimited future.”
Delle Donne, who was born at Christiana Hospital on Sept. 5, 1989, is an official spokesperson of Christiana Care Health System.
“I think this is a very nice tie-in about the potential of children, and reminds them, it gives them a unique keepsake—no child has more potential than a newborn,” said Dr. Matthew Hoffman, the Marie E. Pinizotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Christiana Care.
“It emphasizes children can go on to be anything they want to be in a caring and supporting environment.”
Stachowski said she doesn’t know what she will do with the shoes yet, but hopes they will be an encouraging keepsake for June.
“It was nice somebody from Delaware, and a woman, can inspire other girls and other kids,” she said. “It’s nice to see a female athlete from our state go on and win a gold medal. It shows there’s lots of opportunities and possibilities out there.”