Seattle Seahawks rookie wide receiver Malik Turner is passionate about the rare disease cause.
He took part in Lift For Life as a member of the Illinois Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Turner also supported his cause by participating in the Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases campaign for his NFL Pro Day.
It was during his Reps For Rare Diseases campaign that Turner made the connection that one of his University of Illinois classmates, Holt Erikson, was a rare disease patient. Once he learned more about Holt’s story, Turner felt a deeper connection to his friend. The rare disease cause became personal.
“What draws me closer to the rare disease cause is personally connecting with someone that has gone through the struggle,” Turner said. “That definitely drew me closer to it.”
That deep and personal relationship moved Turner to do everything in his power to use his platform as an elite athlete to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.
And Turner was not going to let an injury derail his commitment to making a difference for the Rare Disease Community.
Two weeks prior to his Pro Day workout Turner suffered a fracture in his foot. That injury meant he would not be able to participate in the biggest workout of his life.
Turner felt compelled, though, to honor his commitment to the rare disease cause and on his Pro Day still participated in the bench press. With his friend Holt on his mind, Turner went out and beat his bench press goal by one repetition despite being injured.
When he made it to the NFL, Turner wanted to continue that deeply personal 1-on-1 relationship with those battling rare diseases.
Once Turner secured a spot on the Seahawks roster, he almost immediately started looking for ways to do even more to support his cause. Working together, Turner and Uplifting Athletes teamed up to host an Uplifting Experience for a rare disease patient family in the greater Seattle area.
Earlier this month Turner hosted ADNP patient Tony Sermone, his twin brother Rocco and Tony’s parents, Sandra and Rich at the Seattle Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center for several hours.
They toured the Seahawks locker room, interacted with other Seattle players, worked out on the practice field together and Turner walked them through a day in the life of an NFL player.
It was during this experience that Turner was able to show his passion for the rare disease cause – unveiling the cleats he will wear for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign during this Sunday’s game at home against San Francisco.
Above the Seattle skyline painted on the on the back of his right cleat, are the initials “T” and “S” in Tony’s honor. The initials “H” and “E” are on the back of left cleat above the block “I” University Illinois logo to honor Holt.
“I needed to be more aware of exactly what rare means and how it’s not funded and needs more attention. Connecting to Holt and Tony made me want to dig deeper,” Turner said. “I didn’t know whom I impacted and when I saw that … it impacted me.
“Those little things that are bigger than me and bigger than football is something that’s important to me.”
Turner has chosen the Rare Disease Community as his cause and is supporting Uplifting Athletes during the NFL My Cause My Cleats campaign.
He is asking you to support his cause by making a donation through his Tackle Rare Diseases campaign.
The proceeds raised by Turner’s My Cause My Cleats campaign supports the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.