The NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats”: Which Teams Raised Rare Disease Awareness?

Week 13 of the NFL marks the onset of “My Cause My Cleats,” an annual initiative that empowers players to reveal and share their passions beyond the game. This year is the 7th season of “My Cause My Cleats.” During this week, players wear custom-designed cleats to highlight their commitment to meaningful causes. 

Once the week is over, players have the option of donating their cleats to the NFL Auction. The cleats are then auctioned off to passionate fans and supporters. Funds from the auction are donated to the players’ respective causes. Says Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham:

“The platform we have as players in the National Football League allows us to reach an entire generation of people in their homes, their communities, in schools, and on the football field. I am proud to join my teammates and brothers across the league as we shine a light on these important causes. We are grateful for this opportunity provided by the NFL and hope that our presence on the field this weekend inspires the global football community to give back and support our efforts.”

Although football season has since progressed past Week 13, we at Patient Worthy feel that it is important to showcase some of the many chosen causes – especially those within the rare disease and chronic illness sphere. We appreciate all of the players who have given their time and energy to contribute to raising awareness and funds on a broader sphere.

Below, we’ll share some of the players who played a role in this increased awareness. But keep your eyes open for the end of December, where we’ll be sharing a few longer interviews with players about their chosen causes! 

My Cause My Cleats

Pediatric Illness

A large number of players chose to focus on raising funds, support, and awareness around pediatric illnesses:

  • James Conner (Arizona Cardinals) – Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Nicholas Falk (New England Patriots) – Children’s Tumor Foundation
  • Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Mya Lin Terry Foundation
  • Rashard Lawrence (Arizona Cardinals) – Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children
  • Andy Lee (Arizona Cardinals) – Madelyn’s Fund
  • Daniel Carlson (Las Vegas Raiders) – Pediatric Cancer Awareness 
  • Vederian Lowe (Minnesota Vikings) – Shriners Children’s Hospital

Rare Disease

As many people within the rare disease community know, raising awareness is crucial to providing adequate support and care to families; awareness can also help with funding for important research. The following players chose to highlight rare disease or rare condition causes during My Cause My Cleats:

Chronic Illness

Players who worked to raise awareness in the wide spectrum of chronic illness include:


Players who worked to raise awareness of strokes include:

  • Benny Snell Jr. (Pittsburgh Steelers) – 22 Oats Strong
  • Kenneth Gainwell (Philadelphia Eagles) – Pediatric Stroke Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Players who worked to raise epilepsy awareness include:

  • Roderic Teamer Jr. (Las Vegas Raiders) – Project Purple Butterfly
  • TJ Edwards (Philadelphia Eagles) – Epilepsy Foundation Eastern Pennsylvania

Down Syndrome

Players who worked to raise Down syndrome awareness include:

  • Ben Ellefson (Minnesota Vikings) – Gigi’s Playhouse
  • Brandon Powell (Los Angeles Rams) – Down Syndrome Foundation 
  • Tanzel Smart (New York Jets) – National Down Syndrome Society 


Players who worked to raise awareness in the field of cancer/oncology include:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Finally, let’s look at some of the players who centered their cause on Alzheimer’s disease awareness:

  • Tyquan Lewis (Indianapolis Colts) – Alzheimer’s Association
  • Micah McFadden (New York Giants) – Alzheimer’s Association
  • Zay Jones (Jacksonville Jaguars) – Alzheimer’s Association

For a full list of causes represented during My Cause My Cleats, head here.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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