*My Cause, My Cleats is an NFL initiative that allows players to design cleats in honor of charities they care about. This year, a number of Patriots will be wearing custom-made cleats that represent causes close to their hearts for the game in Buffalo this weekend. Before they do, Lifestyle is bringing you some of the stories behind the cleats. *
When Duron Harmon walks onto the field Sunday afternoon, his cleats will reflect family. From the cause to the design, it is family.
For My Cause, My Cleats, Duron picked Autism Speaks in honor of his 8-year-old nephew Nicholas, who has autism.
Autism Speaks is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and advocating on behalf of those diagnosed with autism and their families, as well as increasing understanding and research.
Duron said seeing the challenges his nephew faces, as well as the successes, made him want to shine a light on the work Autism Speaks does.
"I just saw how he is affected by it. Some people think it's all bad, but it's not. He has a lot of unique talents and all we have to do is try to bring him out of his shell so he can expose those talents," Duron said. "I just think bringing more and more awareness to the cause will let people know that they're not alone out there. More people than you think have to deal with this on a daily basis."
Not only will Duron be representing on Sunday for his nephew. He will also be showcasing his brother-in-law's work. Duron's cleats are white with red and blue toes, and while one has the Autism Speaks logo, a puzzle piece, the other has a young, smiling child beaming up.
Duron's brother-in-law, a tattoo artist, drew a picture of his son to complete the cleats.
"He actually did that freehanded. We couldn't get to his machine because, of course, I'm a late person and I didn't realize the cleats had to be done so soon. He came up for Thanksgiving, and he literally did it in my basement in a day," Duron said. "I was just so, so, so impressed and how detailed it was for him to be able to do that and literally freehand it with no machine."
Duron said having the chance to use his platform to share his family's story and talents will hopefully spread awareness and show his Nicholas that anything is possible.
"For my nephew to even see his dad work broadcasted throughout the country, I think will be really good," Duron said. "It lets people know that you can do whatever you want you just have to make the most of all your opportunities."
For more information about Autism Speaks, click here.