Tampa Bay Buccaneer Shines Light on Meniere’s Disease
Elmhurst, IL, December 3, 2018—More than 500 NFL players wore custom-designed cleats in Week 13 for the #MyCauseMyCleats campaign. Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mike Leidtke chose to highlight the American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF) for its work with Meniere’s disease research. He explained this cause matters to him because his wife Noelle is dealing with Meniere’s disease symptoms of vertigo and hearing loss. His cleats honor her as well.
An estimated 615,000 people in the United States suffer with Meniere’s disease, which becomes more common with age. Most people with Meniere’s disease are over 40. Currently, there is no known cure, but evidence-based therapies and treatments can help people better manage the symptoms, which can include ringing and pressure in the ears, along with fluctuating hearing loss, extreme dizziness, and associated nausea, falls, anxiety and/or depression.
“Meniere’s disease can have a tremendous impact on everyday life,” says President of AHRF, Alan Micco, MD. “We’re very grateful that Mike Leidtke chose to step up and raise awareness about Meniere’s challenges. At AHRF, we’re committed to investing in research to better understand Meniere’s disease and other hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. Our ultimate goal is to identify treatments that will make a difference.”
AHRF is a nonprofit organization that has been making new discoveries possible for more than 60 years by funding novel research to better understand and overcome hearing and balance disorders of the inner ear. Since 2010, the organization has funded 66 projects with more than $1.4 million in research grants.
Each year, AHRF offers a $25,000 grant for Meniere’s disease research. In 2018, AHRF awarded a grant to Anna Lysakowski, PhD, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is a leader in the fields of neuroscience and anatomy. Lysakowski and her team are investigating genetic markers and antibodies of familial Meniere’s disease, with the hope of creating human cellular models to test treatments in the future.
As part of the collaboration between the NFL and players, in Week 13 players represent hundreds of charitable organizations through custom-designed cleats. Each pair of cleats tells a story. Players use their cleats to raise awareness about health issues, diseases, as well as social justice and equality causes.
Players have the opportunity to raise money for their cause by auctioning their cleats off at NFL Auction; 100 percent of money raised is donated to the player’s charities. Fans may bid on game-issued player cleats to help players raise funds for their chosen causes.