Cameron DeHaven Walks the Walk
Cameron DeHaven is always on his feet. He’s a patient care technician and phlebotomist at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital. Before he worked in the Emergency Department (ED) at Delnor Hospital, Cameron worked as a firefighter.
“I’ve definitely always been drawn to helping others,” he says. “You realize that you can do a lot more than you think you can for others.”
Sneaker Head, Sneaker Heartz
Cameron is a self-dubbed “sneaker head.” Most of his closet space is devoted to sneakers, which he appreciates as art. One day, Cameron walked into his closet and felt bad about how many sneakers he had. He wondered how he could give back to the community by sharing this passion.
In 2018, Cameron started Sneaker Heartz, a nonprofit that gives new and gently used shoes to those in need. It started with sneakers, but Sneaker Heartz quickly gained traction both locally and globally, expanding to all types of shoes for all walks of life.
From donating dress shoes to organizations that work to help get people back into the workforce, to donating cleats to aspiring athletes, Sneaker Heartz continues to increase its footprint. In just under a year, Cameron and his staff of five, plus volunteers, have taken in more than 6,000 pairs of shoes and donated them to people around the Chicagoland area, Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, Kenya and more.
Cameron’s co-workers in the ED at Delnor Hospital also support his efforts. One of them took roughly 70 pairs of shoes back with her to her village in Mexico when she went home to visit her family.
“Cameron works tirelessly in the ED to save lives, then goes home, gets four hours of sleep, and wakes up and works tirelessly on Sneaker Heartz,” says Northwestern Medicine Emergency Medicine Physician Rajeev S. Kalsi, MD. “Cameron spends 60 hours a week working for Sneaker Heartz.”
When he’s not sorting donations, distributing shoes or looking for more ways for Sneaker Heartz to help those in need, Cameron also provides support and mentorship to those looking to start their own nonprofits.
“If everybody could turn their passion into service, the world would be a better place,” says Cameron.