NFL Stars Raise Rare Disease Awareness on Field

Players recognize Uplifting Athletes during NFL “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cameron Lynch’s orange-hued shoes pay tribute not only to Uplifting Athletes, but to his college squad, the Syracuse Orange.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cameron Lynch’s orange-hued shoes pay tribute not only to Uplifting Athletes, but to his college squad, the Syracuse Orange. (Photo/Uplifting Athletes)

Five National Football League players are taking an extra step to draw attention to the challenges of people living with rare diseases this weekend by taking the field in cleats branded with the logo of Uplifting Athletes, a rare disease-focused charity comprised of college football players.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Cameron Lynch, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Malik Turner, San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Garry Gilliam and New York Giants punter Riley Dixon are wearing Uplifting Athletes footwear as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign. The campaign allows players to recognize charitable causes through specially designed cleats. Some of the cleats are later auctioned off to raise money for the causes they represent.

"What strikes me is that these NFL players supporting the Rare Disease Community have a choice to make when it comes to their cleats,” said Rob Long, Executive Director of Uplifting Athletes. “This is a very personal decision for them. We are thrilled they chose their platform to support our cause for their cleats. Collectively we are shining a spotlight on rare diseases and inspiring others with hope.” 

With chapters on more than 20 college and university campuses across the country, Uplifting Athletes raises money and awareness for rare disease research. In August, CSL Behring presented Uplifting Athletes first-ever Young Investigator Draft, where $60,000 in grant money was awarded to rare disease researchers.