In Week 13, NFL players can choose to wear specialty cleats that have a message dedicated to a particular person or cause.
The NFL calls the initiative “My Cause, My Cleats” and this will be the program’s fifth year.
For Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward, that cause will be the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation was founded by ESPN and legendary late NC State basketball coach Jim Valavano in before Valvano’s death from cancer in 1993.
Unfortunately, cancer has hit close to Heyward in his life. His father, former NFL and Pitt running back Craig Heyward, lost his life due to brain cancer at age 39 in 2006. Cam Heyward leaned on the way that he saw older Steelers give back to the community when he was coming up in the league, and that’s how he ultimately decided to dedicate his cause to the V Foundation.
“As I got into the NFL, I got to see a lot of cool guys that cared about the community and had things near and dear to their heart and wanted to give back,” Heyward said on the V Foundation’s V for Victory podcast.
“Whether it was Brett Keisel, he does this thing called Shear the Beard, where he shaves his beard for Children’s Hospital and they raise a lot of money. … Aaron Smith, whose son had Leukemia, and he did a walk to raise money for research. So, seeing that play out, I think, helped me a lot. I always knew I wanted to give back to kids and to cancer research.”
Heywards’ cleats along with those over 500 other NFL players, will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds benefitting the charitable choices of each player.