Philadelphia Union to wear boots made by children suffering from pediatric cancer

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In an unprecedented move, MLS side Philadelphia Union teamed up with young children suffering from pediatric cancer to create customary boots for the first team players.

The club held a special event at the TruMark Financial Club where 15 boots designed by 15 affected children were unveiled. Sponsored by Nike, the boots were then sent to artist Troy Cole, also known as Kickasso, who helped in bringing out the designs to life.

Handrawing every boot, Kickasso made sure that he eked out as much details as possible. “I tried to make it as close to their renderings as possible, so they could see the visual of their work on their shoes,” Kickasso said. “There was no question in my mind, I wanted to do this. The color, the joy that was in every boot, it was amazing.”

Kickasso has been previously commissioned by the National Football League (NFL) for the “My Cause My Cleats” campaign that saw players able to wear custom cleats to support the charity of their choice. “This event hits my heart,”

“I got a little emotional up there announcing what we were doing. Being able to do this for the children and then transition it to the field, I think it’s a payoff for everyone. Everyone wins.”

Earlier this season, 15 children, who are currently battling pediatric cancer or who have won their fight, teamed up with 15 first-team players. The children then sat down with their respective choice of players and designed the boots on a sheet of paper. The youngest of them was 3-years-old while the oldest was aged 15.

“Just to see these kids smile, it goes a lot further than anyone could have imagined,” goalkeeper John McCarthy said who teamed up with 8-year-old Marisa. “We kind of just put pencil to paper, laughed a little and kept drawing. You can see how much it means to the kids today. There’s no doubt in my mind I’m going to have a good time wearing those cleats.”

The first team players will wear the boots during warm-up prior to their Pediatric Cancer Awareness match against Chicago Fire on September 23. After the match, the players will autograph one boot, while the children will autograph the other. Thereafter, the boots will be exchanged between them, as a symbol of the bond created.

You can view all the boots, here.