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Union players to wear cleats designed by 43 childhood cancer patients

Jack Elliott, Alejandro Bedoya and Auston Trusty unveiled the cleats in an event with some of the “Fearless 43” children and their families on Wednesday

Jack Elliott, Alejandro Bedoya, Marco Fabian and Auston Trusty will be wearing custom cleats on Saturday in the Philadelphia Union’s game against LAFC that were designed by a group of area children known as the Fearless 43.

Some of those children visited the Union’s locker room on Wednesday for a special unveiling event for the cleats, a t-shirt that will be available for sale to the public and other items athletes from the Philadelphia Phillies (Jake Arrieta and Scott Kingery), Philadelphia Flyers (Jakub Voráček and Carter Hart) and Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Eagles (Rasul Douglas).

The designs were done by the Maryland-based DezCustoms based on drawings the group of 43 childhood cancer patients submitted.

“As a club, we wanted to honor these kids by connecting them with professional athletes through art and design.” said Doug Vosik, Philadelphia Union Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It’s amazing how this project has unified the professional teams in Philadelphia. What started as a project for the Union and these kids has turned into one supported by all of the pro teams in Philadelphia.”

The Union partnered with Kisses for Kyle, a local organization that supports families affected by cancer through a variety of programs and events. The significance of the number 43 is that it’s the number of children who are diagnosed with some form of cancer daily. It’s become an annual tradition for the Union to team up with childhood cancer patients and their families for their annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Night.

“We’re one big family now and to be able to invite some of our kids participating last year and the year before and then bring them all together with newer families is just incredible,” said Sharon Snyder, president and founder of Kisses for Kyle, which is in its 18th year supporting families in the Delaware Valley.

In addition to the designs showing up on the customized cleats — a boy named Sonny’s face lit up when Jack Elliott showed him that his Buzz Lightyear was on the heel of one of the cleats he’ll wear against LAFC — all 43 designs were converted into icons on a t-shirt with the Fearless 43 logo. Union head coach Jim Curtin wore the shirt during his weekly press conference. The other pro athletes will be wearing their own custom cleats and since the guys from the Flyers don’t wear cleats they have hockey sticks that were made with the designs.

“You can see they’re genuinely here for the children and wearing the shirts and the designs and making them an inspiration,” said Amy, one of the mom’s at Wednesday’s unveiling event with her kids. “It’s amazing. We’re so glad and honored to be asked to be a part of this.”

The 43 artists will be special guests of the team on Saturday night. To see more of the designs and meet some of the artists, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com/fearless-43.