In week 14 of the NFL season, DJ Fluker, a Seattle Seahawks offensive guard, revealed a pair of custom-designed cleats featuring the Boston Scientific Close the Gap health equity initiative.
Fluker was one of over 900 NFL players to participate in My Cause My Cleats, an event that allows players to express their commitment to the causes that are most important to them. Fluker, who lost his grandmother to heart disease, was impressed with the Close the Gap mission to address healthcare barriers that disproportionately impact women and minorities.
“I remember being so devastated when I lost my grandma to heart disease. When I later found out it was the number one killer of black women, I wanted to help more people learn about this disease so we can better educate those in need and find a cure. My Cause My Cleats is a great way to bring awareness and hopefully get more women of color to seek care,” said Fluker.
Fluker learned about Close the Gap from Camille Chang Gilmore, vice president of human resources and global chief diversity officer at Boston Scientific.
“My husband, who is an NFL agent and works with DJ, first introduced the idea of connecting him with Close the Gap,” said Chang Gilmore. “After learning more about the purpose behind Close the Gap and our commitment to addressing health disparities, DJ offered to feature us on his cleats for this year’s My Cause My Cleats.”
“It sounded like the perfect cause for me because it educates people about heart disease, particularly among black women who are at risk. Had my grandma been checked she might still be here,” Fluker continued. “The people who work with the Close the Gap program are doing very important work. I’ve loved being able to collaborate with them on this!”
Fluker is not alone in his efforts to raise awareness of health issues. For this year’s My Cause My Cleats efforts, 24% of the players chose causes related to health and wellness, 18% on cancer awareness and 17% focused on issues impacting youth.
To learn more about Close the Gap, visit here.