We are proud to share that five NFL players have chosen to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause with their cleats.
The NFL’s annual My Cause My Cleats kicked off this week and Uplifting Athletes cleats will be worn in NFL games by Cameron Lynch, Riley Dixon, Malik Turner, Garry Gilliam and Zaire Franklin.
All five of these players are from schools that have a college football student-athlete led Uplifting Athletes Chapter.
“What strikes me is these NFL players supporting the Rare Disease Community have a choice to make when it comes to their cleats. This is very personal decision for them. We are thrilled they chose their platform to support our cause with their cleats. Collectively we are shining a spotlight on rare diseases and inspiring others with hope.” – Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long
Cameron Lynch, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lynch arrived at Syracuse University when the Orange players were working to start an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. This is the second consecutive year Lynch has made rare diseases his cause.
“During My Cause, My Cleats, I have decided to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and the 30 million Americans affected by rare diseases. Approximately 50 percent of people affected by rare diseases are children and I am proud to help spread the word so that those battling rare diseases know they are not alone.” – Cameron Lynch
Riley Dixon, Punter, New York Giants
Dixon came to Syracuse when Long was a GA and the common bond of being punters sparked a lasting friendship. This is the second year Dixon has supported the Rare Disease Community with his cleats.
“Uplifting Athletes raises money as well as empowers people to take action against rare diseases – when I was at Syracuse, our long-snapper Sam Rodgers, started Uplifting Athletes for former Syracuse punter Rob Long, who had brain cancer in 2010 and is seven years cancer-free. Through the college sports platform, we raise money for these rare diseases.” – Riley Dixon
Malik Turner, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The rare disease cause has become very personal for the Seahawks rookie and former Illinois standout. He was introduced to the cause through the Illini Chapter, was moved by a personal story of a fellow Illinois student he met in class and has extended that 1-on-1 relationship to the NFL by recently hosting a rare disease patient family for an Uplifting Experience at the Seahawks facility.
“What draws me closer to the rare disease cause is personally connecting with someone that has gone through the struggle. That definitely drew me closer to it.” – Malik Turner
Zaire Franklin, LB, Indianapolis Colts
Franklin participated in every Lift For Life during his time at Syracuse and has become an Uplifting Ambassador in 2018. The Colts rookie participated in Reps For Rare Diseases in conjunction with his NFL Pro Day and is now using his cleats to show the Rare Disease Community his commitment to the cause to inspire them with hope.
Garry Gilliam Jr., OL, San Francisco 49ers
This is the second in a row year Gilliam has used his cleats to highlight the rare disease cause. During his time at Penn State Gilliam participated in Lift For Life and was a strong fundraiser to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes. Gilliam played high school football in the same Central Pennsylvania conference as Uplifting Athletes Founder Scott Shirley so Gilliam was familiar with the rare disease cause when he arrived at Penn State and has remained a supporter for nearly a decade.
In conjunction with My Cause My Cleats each member of the Uplifting Athletes team has agreed to run a fundraising campaign to support the cause and help Tackle Rare Diseases.
The proceeds from My Cause My Cleats support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.