Denver Broncos Defensive Tackle D.J. Jones Highlights UAMS Myeloma Center in My Cause, My Cleats Campaign

By Marty Trieschmann

Since 2016, participating NFL teams and players customize footwear with designs that represent causes and charities they support.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to highlight the lifesaving work of the UAMS Myeloma Center,” said Jones. “My mother-in-law, Angela Fannin, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007 and underwent a successful bone marrow transplant at UAMS.”

Fannin, 60, now living in Atlanta, is a 15-year survivor of the rare blood cancer that affects approximately 34,000 people each year.

A professional football player talking to his mother on the field

Jones with his mother-in-law, Angela, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2007 and treated at the UAMS Myeloma Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“When I look at these cleats, they are a reminder of the strength, courage and determination of my mother-in-law and the UAMS team,” said Jones. “I encourage all multiple myeloma patients to continue the fight and remember that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

In a pregame ceremony Dec. 11 at Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High before the Broncos game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jones presented cleats imprinted with ‘multiple myeloma’ to Heather Brown, APRN, the nurse who cared for Fannin during her treatment at UAMS.

“I had never heard of multiple myeloma when I was diagnosed,” said Fannin, who joined Jones and her daughter, Kayla Jae, on the football field for the emotional ceremony. “All I heard was cancer.

“Little did I know the best treatment center in the world for myeloma was just two states away. I learned very quickly why people come from over the world to be treated at UAMS.”

“I couldn’t have asked for more capable, compassionate and attentive caregivers during my treatment. Everyone was just excellent,” Fannin added.

With more than 25 years of clinical and research excellence, the UAMS Myeloma Center is the most comprehensive program in the world for research and clinical care for multiple myeloma and related diseases. The center’s team of renowned physicians and scientists are known worldwide for novel therapy approaches that result in continually improved survival rates.

The cleats, a size 13, will be on display in the lobby of the UAMS Myeloma Center, located on the eighth floor of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in Little Rock.