When Matthew Judon takes the field on Monday night, he will do so with cleats in honor of two of the most important women in his life: his mother and his wife.
The cleat that is for the American Cancer Society is for his mother, Pieretta Hairston, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. Judon was playing in Baltimore while his mother was getting treatment in Michigan in the height of COVID, making an already difficult situation even harder.
"It was tough. It was really tough. Something like that, I couldn't do anything for her besides be a support person and just kind of be there for her," he said. We can't even pour into her house and just be around her and support."
Earlier this year, Hairston was deemed cancer-free, and Judon and his siblings found a special to way to celebrate the moment they had longed for. They surprised her with a new house.
After the strength she showed through her diagnosis, Judon said they all saw just how tough their mom is.
"She had to drive all the way from West Bloomfield to Ann Arbor four times a week to her treatments and she did all of them with a smile on her face," he said. "She had help but it was tough for her. She made it through. She pushed through."
With one cleat representing the American Cancer Society, Judon wanted to showcase causes that his wife, BreighAnn, educated him on. She is passionate about advocating for vulnerable women, from those experiencing abuse to preventing sex trafficking.
In that vein, he choice to highlight International Justice Mission.
"The American Cancer Society was a no-brainer, but the other cleats was just bringing more awareness and more man presence to such a silent thing that's going on in the world, but it's very huge," Judon said. "Nobody every really talks about it, so I'm just thinking a male voice and a male presence to it can help shed a light on the struggles that our women face."
You can check out the rest of the Patriots causes and cleats in the gallery below.
For the sixth straight season, the New England Patriots are participating in the NFL's 'My Cause My Cleats' campaign, which gives both players and coaches the opportunity to wear cleats that are designed to promote a cause important to them. Here's a look at the Patriots' custom cleats.