Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman and 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee Cameron Heyward is partnering with Underdogs United to aid children in rural Kenya without access to safe drinking water. By joining forces with the Pittsburgh-based organization, Heyward is now becoming part of the solution to the Kenyan water crisis.
"He's absolutely been one of the leaders of the initiative. He was one of the first major athletes to commit. I think having a Pittsburgh Steeler involved as a Pittsburgh organization has really catapulted and snowballed for us," Underdogs United founder Stephen Gabauer stated. "We're so thankful for Cam, he's certainly one of the model players involved."
Through the Underdogs United Global Jersey Exchange program, professional athletes auction off their autographed jerseys to support clean drinking water efforts in Kenya where about 90 percent of schools lack access. In exchange, the athletes receive custom jerseys designed by local Kenyan tailors. Other athletes participating in the movement include three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry, Olympic track star Alycia Newman, and FIFA Women's World Cup champion Alex Morgan.
In addition to the athlete Global Jersey Exchange program, Underdogs United aims to build a shopping experience where customers can benefit causes globally by purchasing handcrafted sportswear and other merchandise. The goal of Underdogs United is to provide clean drinking water to 10,000 children in Kenya through its jersey and apparel sales by the end of 2019.
Heyward benefits other organizations too through The Cameron Heyward Foundation established in 2015. His foundation has contributed to the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, DKMS, KidsVoice, Smyrna Stars Basketball Club, after-school fitness programs and more. Heyward has built a strong reputation for philanthropy over the years, earning him this season’s nomination from the Steelers for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award — his third time nominated by the team.
Fans can vote for the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year until January 13 by posting on social media using the player’s last name and hashtag #WPMOYChallenge. Learn more here.