Kicking Things Off in Oakley’s Honor

Palm Beach Daily News
February 10, 2020

The new field at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center got a good workout while supporting a good cause on Friday afternoon.

Students from Palm Beach Day and Rosarian academies men in a friendly competition during the Oakley Gage Debbs inaugural soccer game. Many were wearing a jersey or red sneakers to honor Oakley, who, in 2016, had a fatal allergic reaction to walnuts when he was 11.

Robert and Merrill Debbs established the charity organization Red Sneakers for Oakley in his memory. Oakley loved his red sneakers, and the family decided to sue them as a symbol for increased education and awareness regarding food allergies. Annual events include International Red Sneakers Day, May 20 this year, and the E.A.T. Gala.

“Oakley went to Rosarian, but he had a lot of friends at Palm Beach Day,” Merrill Debbs said. So, the students were mixed up into two teams for the game, red and white, she said–with the red team emerging victorious.