Designed to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Women In Flight Jordan 1 Mids represent the triumphs of women everywhere. The progress made towards equality and the ability for women to do things they weren’t allowed to before. Ultimately, the shoes are the Go Do Anything mantra physically brought to life to inspire others.
With two pairs up for grabs, Women In Flight had two goals in mind: raise funds and spread awareness for Oregon women’s athletics. The first pair sold in auction for over $10,000. To help spread awareness, the second pair of shoes were given via a random drawing to Carla Tysor, a member of the Women In Flight community. The list of potential winners included over 4,000 social media followers, Women In Flight donors throughout the years, and contributors to our Title IX campaign.
On Thursday, February 23rd, we called Carla to let her know she won the giveaway. Once the news sunk in, we learned she has a plan for the shoes embodying the spirit of Go Do Anything in a way we never could have imagined.
Originally from Illinois, Carla moved to Eugene and enrolled at Junction City High School, where she played almost every sport offered at the time. When the school’s softball team began its inaugural season, she quickly jumped at the chance to play, earning all-star center field honors for her performance. She also enjoyed playing volleyball, basketball, and track.
“Sports was my savior because my family life wasn’t that good,” Carla reflected. “It was something to give myself confidence. I enjoyed being around other people, building camaraderie, and making friends along the way. I am a big competitor along with loving the challenges!”
After meeting her husband and spending several years in North Carolina, the couple returned to Eugene. A friend of her mother-in-law, who was an avid supporter of the Ducks, gave the couple tickets to their first men’s basketball game. One game in the arena was all it took to pique their interest. They became women’s basketball season ticket holders and have been hooked on Oregon athletics ever since.
Now a mother and grandmother, a love of sport is something Carla passes on to her family. Her oldest daughter, Lisa, followed in her mother’s footsteps by playing multiple sports in high school. Today, Carla describes her as a “Ducks nut.”
“Lisa still had season football tickets even when she was stationed in Hawaii on active military duty. But she still made it back to Eugene to take her dad to a game for his birthday,” Carla remembers.
Carla’s youngest daughter, Theresa, lives in Thurston and is a mom of four. Living close by makes it easy for Carla to spend time with her grandchildren, especially during their sport seasons.
Last year, an unforeseen tragedy struck Carla and her family when Finley Henderson, Carla’s eight-year-old granddaughter, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). DIPG is a rare brain tumor affecting kids 4-10 years old. Without a cure and with limited treatment options, the survival rate is a mere 10% when diagnosed with DIPG.
Carla and her family were able to spend six more months with Finley after her diagnosis before losing her to DIPG. Our hearts go out to the entire Tysor & Henderson families as they grieve this unimaginable loss.
During this difficult time, Carla and her family relied on several organizations for support. Levi’s Legacy DIPG Foundation, a non-profit in Oregon started by Nathan and Jenica Harden in honor of their son Levi, is one such example. The family also spent six weeks at the Ronald McDonald House in Portland while Finley underwent radiation treatment.
Now, Carla is looking to use the Title IX Jordan 1 Mids to pay it forward to families with children suffering from DPIG.
Carla, who has supported Women In Flight since 2019, knew about the Go Do Anything campaign, but was shocked when Alexis (Cross) Smith, Director of Women In Flight, called to tell her she won the sneakers.
In fact, Carla had just gotten off the phone with her doctor. She only answered our call because she thought it might be a follow-up to her appointment. Carla is scheduled to have a third surgery in the spring to remove two tumors located in her spinal cord. Given the complexity of this surgery, it’s something Carla is feeling very anxious about.
“This sounds crazy, but I hope to think it was my granddaughter nudging to keep my mind off the surgery. It would be something she would do. There are a lot of variables this time around, that could be life changing for me,” Carla reflected.
“But I think my granddaughter had something to do with this. It gives me something else to think about, instead of worrying over surgery for the next month.”
When asked about what these sneakers mean to her, Carla instantly smiled.
“I’m so glad to have won these shoes and I still can’t believe it. I’m excited to be able to use these shoes for a good cause and they are a perfect way for me to help other children and families who are going through this horrific disease, in Finley’s memory,” she said.
Carla and her “sneakerhead” friend, Amy, are now brainstorming ways to tap into sneaker culture and use the Title IX Jordan 1 Mids to draw more attention to DIPG. Their goal is to use the shoes as a catalyst to raise funds to accelerate scientific research on the disease. Carla’s biggest wish is to attract the WNBA’s attention to spread awareness of her mission to combat DIPG to a wider audience.
To us, the Title IX Jordan 1 Mids are a symbolic representation of so many things. A nod to those who have broken barriers to make the path easier for the rest of us. A cheer for each victory, no matter how big or small. The words “Go Do Anything” etched in a physical form.
To Carla, they’re all of these things and more. They represent a chance to not just impact lives– but also, to hopefully save them.
To learn more about the Title IX Jordan 1 Mids, created by female designers Elizabeth Brock-Jones and Kendal Bagby in collaboration with Tinker Hatfield, click here.