CHICAGO - A local artist helping the Bears raise awareness about charitable causes is making Chicago proud tonight.
Marvin Baroota created customized cleats that the players will wear during Sunday's game at Soldier Field. It's part of the "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign.
Smiles and thumbs-up ensued from Bears players as they saw their special cleats for the first time.
"It was like Christmas for them. And no amount of money could make me happier than seeing the reactions like that," said Baroota.
Thirty-two Bears players each picked a charity to highlight with their cleats. Choices ranged from the Red Cross to the Chicago Housing Authority.
Baroota made 29 pairs of cleats, and it all started with a connection online.
"I contacted him through Snapchat," said Danny Trevathan.
"Then it was just domino effect from there, and 3 or 4 guys messaged me," said Baroota.
"It's more than just football, we're not just football players. We care about making a difference," said Mitch Trubisky, quarterback.
Baroota, who started his own airbrush shop in Des Plaines, says he sacrificed sleep as he focused on creating the cleats.
"When I was working on the pairs for the Bears, I was maybe getting 3 hours max. I lost my voice at one point. Literally couldn't talk," he said.
However, he says it was well worth the effort and describes it as a labor of love.
"I love football, like I said, and I love art, and I combine them and this is what I get," Baroota said.
This is the second year for the program. All of the NFL teams take part in it.
After Sunday's game, the cleats will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting each charity.