It's Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, and players, coaches and staff have an opportunity to wear custom cleats to highlight non-profit organizations and causes that mean the most to them through the My Cause My Cleats campaign. One of the most notable players taking part in the campaign is Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen who is wearing cleats that support the Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, New York. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Allen explained what My Cause My Cleats means to him.
"The NFL is allowing us to show some expression or creativity on our cleats and what we wear, and to bring awareness for the cause or the organization that we're working with or working for," Allen exclusively told PopCulture. "And this year, Gillette, obviously, I've been partnering with them, they got an artist, Joshua Vides, who's also designing Mac Jones' cleats this week, which, I thought, that's pretty cool. But the design of my cleats is for the Oishei Children's Hospital. The design is really cool. I'm excited to wear them. They came out beautifully. "
Allen will have the cleats on display when the Bills take on Jones and the New England Patriots Thursday night for Thursday Night Football. "After the game, they're going to be auctioned off on nfl.com/auction," Allen continued. "And the really cool part about it too is Gillette's going to be matching that offer. So all the benefits go straight to Oishei Children's Hospital, to the families and the kids that need them in there to support ... I love it because it's so near and dear to my heart, and it fills me with some gratitude and some joy and that I'm able to be able to give back like that."
As Allen mentioned, Vides, a well-known visual artist and graphic designer based out of Southern California, designed Allen's cleats. "It's truly a blessing to have partnered with Gillette and in turn, be doing what I love day in and day out, but to then be able to design something that will directly impact the players' initiatives at the Oishei Children's Hospital and the Boys & Girls Club in Jordan, Massachusetts, is an honor," Vides told PopCulture via email. "Working with Mac and Josh was an amazing experience – it is for sure going to be a core memory watching both these guys on Thursday night, showcasing their skillsets and donning the cleats to go along with it – like fire and ice!"
Allen will be forever linked to Oishei Children's Hospital forever based on what happened in 2020. "We've got the Patricia Allen Fund, we've got the Patricia Allen Wing in the hospital, which again, memorializes her and my family there forever," Allen explained. "I didn't really tell anybody when my grandmother passed. A couple of people kind of found out; they started donating $17 in honor of my grandmother, which obviously, I wear number 17, so it was $17 increments. And I woke up the next day, and I saw there's a couple grand donated, and I was overcome with joy then. Now, we're a few million dollars later into this fund, and we're still finding new ways to raise money for these families and these kids that are going through such hard times."