KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs are making us all proud this season, and there’s another reason to be proud of our players. They’re lacing up for this year’s “My Cause, My Cleats.” For one game – they get to wear specially decorated cleats – that represent a charity close to them.
This year, Lawrence artist John Sebelius painted the cleats. Sebelius met with Chiefs players during training camp to come up with plans. He’s doing a dozen pairs of cleats for players including Dustin Colquitt and Patrick Mahomes.
“Patrick Mahomes was totally okay with glitter so that’s why his are a little bit more bedazzled,” John Sebelius said.
All the designs represent a different charity. It takes him almost a week for one pair from the first layer of paint to the heat gun.
Spencer Ware’s cleats are painted to represent the Sickle Cell aWAREness Foundation.
“He had an idea of wanting to represent the actual disease of sickle cell on his shoe to bring awareness to that,” Sebelius said.
Several pairs of cleats have patriotic themes.
“Gehrig Dieter wanted his three french bulldogs on one shoe of the KC Pet Project, for the other shoe his brother is in the Army so he wanted a tribute piece to the Army and his brother who is a specialist,” Sebelius said.
Anthony Sherman’s pair are painted to represent the Lone Survivor Foundation, an organization that provides therapeutic retreats for service members and their families affected by PTSD, brain injuries, chronic pain and sexual trauma.
“That’s an important part of this project is not only highlighting the players and making them feel good when they’re on field, but really focusing and highlighting those organizations and bringing a nice spotlight to the important work they’re doing,” Sebelius said.
When he’s not working on projects like this one, Sebelius is the artist in residence at KU’s Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment.
As part of his role there, he teaches healing arts and artistic expressions to veterans and first responders for an organization called Warriors Ascent.
“Vets and first responders deserve all resources to help with some of the experiences they’ve had,” Sebelius said. “Anytime I can help with that is a fulfilling day for me.”
Whether art is wearable and will be seen by millions of people, hangs on a wall or helps veterans heal, Sebelius says it’s a form of expression that can do more good than you think.
“You just need someone that can show you that it’s a part of all of us,” Sebelius said. “Doesn’t make you weak or soft. It actually makes you a more fully founded, strong human being.”
You’ll get to see all the cleats in action during the noon game on December 9th against the Ravens. Ten dollars from every ticket sold using the My Cause My Cleats link will go to the charity you select.