In December, San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden supported the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America through the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” program, wearing custom-designed cleats with inspirational artwork to raise awareness around sickle cell disease.
According to the National Football League, its “My Cause My Cleats” campaign featured players showcasing important causes on their cleats each year during Week 13 games in early December.
“We’re thrilled and grateful to Tevin and Markus for recognizing the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America on their cleats this year,” said Regina Hartfield, president and CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.
“The visibility and support mean so much to us and the thousands of families living with sickle cell disease across the country.”
Coleman is an eight-year veteran running back in the NFL. For him, supporting the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America means supporting his daughter.
“As the father of a child who lives with sickle cell disease, I know how important it is for people affected by sickle cell disease to receive the high-quality health care and support they need and deserve.
“I’m proud that my cleats this year will help support the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and also recognize the strength of my daughter, Nazaneen, who inspires me every day,” Coleman said.
“Together with my wife, Akilah, our hope is that by raising awareness and connecting people to this amazing organization, we will help more individuals and families battling this condition to live well and thrive.”
Coleman worked with footwear artist and designer Dan Gamache, known as “Mache,” to create cleats honoring those who inspire his commitment to help improve the lives of people with sickle cell.
The cleats include the name of Coleman’s 5-year-old daughter, Nazaneen, and her favorite animal, a purple butterfly, alongside sickle cell imagery in the style of Hertz Nazaire, a renowned artist and sickle cell warrior. The cleats will also feature the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s logo and a unifying hashtag, #SickleCellMatters.
A Sickle Cell Disease Association of America celebrity ambassador, Golden grew up in St. Louis, graduated from the University of Missouri and was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2015 NFL draft. He has featured the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America and sickle cell causes on his cleats in past years.
“Sickle cell disease is a condition that’s often forgotten, but it profoundly affects so many families across the country,” Golden said.
“I lost my cousin Jonah at only 10 years old to the disease, and that’s why I’m so driven to bring attention to sickle cell and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America on my cleats this year.
“I’m proud to once again partner with such an important organization to support people with sickle cell. I hope every step I take on the field is a step toward finding a cure for sickle cell.”
The NFL will auction Golden’s and Coleman’s cleats on the League’s website after the Week 13 games. Auction proceeds will support the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.
The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America advocates for people affected by sickle cell conditions and empowers community-based organizations to maximize quality of life and raise public consciousness while advancing the search for a universal cure.
The Association and more than 50 member organizations support sickle cell research, public and professional health education and patient and community services. (www.sicklecelldisease.org).
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.