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My Cause, My Cleats, My NF Hero

By January 14, 2021December 4th, 2023Awareness, NF1, Story of NF

When football player David Moore was in college, he met NF Hero Matthew Leming through a mutual friend. Now a rising star for the Seattle Seahawks, David participates in My Cause, My Cleats, the NFL's annual fundraising campaign when players reveal their passions beyond the game and wear their hearts on their feet. Players pick a cause that is important to them and represent their chosen organization on custom designed cleats.

Matthew has neurofibromatosis type 1, and to honor him, David dedicates his custom-designed cleats to their friendship and to us, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the leading driver of NF research. David has made NF awareness the cornerstone of his participation in this annual campaign for several years. “He’s an inspiring kid, and he just keeps fighting every day. He just brings joy to my heart,” David told The Ada News in 2019.

We asked Matthew’s mom Lisa to tell us about Matthew’s NF journey:

Matthew was diagnosed with NF1 in 2015, he was 2 ½ years old. At first, it was so overwhelming, and I was an emotional basket case. I had been a Registered Nurse for 15 years, and I had never heard of this incurable progressive genetic disorder. As we started seeing more doctors, we found out that Matthew had a spontaneous mutation in his DNA at birth, since none of our family had ever been diagnosed or currently had symptoms.

Initially, the first signs were café au lait spots, which seemed to come fast and furious, just a few months prior to diagnosis. With the first sets of tests in September 2015, we found out that Matthew had brain tumors (bilateral optic gliomas) and a plexiform tumor to his lower back. The doctors explained that more than likely the brain tumors wouldn’t be growing and therefore wouldn’t need treatment, but we would need to wait until the end of the year to see if there was any growth.

That December, we received the bad news that the brain tumors were, in fact, growing, and we needed to start chemo as soon as possible. We started on December 15, 2015, three days before Matthew’s 3rd birthday. Our chemo journey was a long one, with lots of ups and downs. We stopped chemo in July 2017. During that period, we learned that his tumors had put pressure on his pituitary, causing his body to go into early puberty. We began the injections to treat precocious puberty in September 2016, which would be necessary until he reached normal puberal age.

Matthew’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th year of life were full of doctor appointments, hospitalizations, pokes, procedures, and surgeries. We had a port during surgery so that, those of you who are familiar know, it made life so much easier. We removed the port in 2017, and since then, for the most part, all tumors have been fairly stable. With NF, one of the biggest issues we have had is learning how to manage Matthew’s learning and physical delays.

David Moore’s custom NF awareness cleats from 2020 are up for auction at Money raised will support our efforts to fund research that is helping NF patients just like Matthew!

My Cause, My Cleats 2019


My Cause, My Cleats 2020