Ethan Haley, 12, dies weeks after designing custom cleats for Aaron Jones, who wore them for big TD run
Just weeks after he got to see Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones' thrilling 77-yard touchdown run in the brightly colored cleats he designed, 12-year-old Ethan Haley has died.
The Rochester, New York, boy was diagnosed in 2018 with anaplastic ependymoma, multiple tumors on his brain and spinal cord. He had undergone multiple surgeries and more than 80 rounds of radiation before receiving palliative care.
Ethan died Dec. 20, one day before Jones was selected for the NFL Pro Bowl. He is survived by his parents, Nate and Kristen; four siblings, Israel, Najma, Janoah, and Luda; and his dog, Milo, according to his obituary.
In late November, Jones surprised Ethan with a video call to tell him he chose his design for My Cause, My Cleats, the NFL’s annual campaign in which players raise awareness for a nonprofit organization or a cause of their choosing by wearing custom-designed cleats. Through a contest with Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s childhood cancer program, Jones asked young fans to submit their designs to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and its mission of pediatric cancer research.
Jones’ virtual meeting with the Haleys was shared in a video. Ethan’s infectious smile was front and center, maybe biggest when he received a pair of cleats just like the ones he designed for Jones.
“I was truly humbled to meet Ethan and his family. It tugged on the heartstrings a bit, but in an uplifting way, because his smile and positivity is so infectious,” Jones told the Green Bay Press-Gazette in December. “As a father, I definitely think about all of the kids and their families facing this challenge each day and I’m so inspired by their fight.”
The cleats made Week 13 highlight reels thanks to Jones' career long 77-yard touchdown run with just minutes to go against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 6 at Lambeau Field.
Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.