Former Syracuse All-American and rare disease patient, Rob Long, joins Uplifting Athletes team


ROB LONG3Uplifting Athletes is pleased to welcome Rob Long to our team as the Director of Strategic Development.

Rob is a former All-American punter at Syracuse University, but more importantly he was a rare disease patient. In December of 2010, Rob was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, during his senior season.

His battle with a rare disease inspired Rob’s teammates at Syracuse to start an Uplifting Athletes Chapter. And he’s continued to use his platform as a rare disease patient to raise awareness and funds in his spare time.

“It is truly a blessing to love what I do. This opportunity allows me to combine my passions of sports and fundraising to help a cause so near and dear to my heart,” Long said. “At Uplifting Athletes we raise money and awareness that supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

“As a rare disease survivor I now have the opportunity to help others as so many have helped me.”

At Uplifting Athletes, Rob will be responsible for overseeing our nationwide network of 25 college football student-athlete led Chapters, harvesting major donor gifts and devising and executing growth opportunities for the national non-profit organization.

“We are excited and fortunate to have Rob join the Uplifting Athletes team,” Uplifting Athletes Founder and Executive Director Scott Shirley said. “Rob was an inspiration for Syracuse starting a chapter and it’s been fun to watch Syracuse grow into one of our bigger chapters. His unique perspective as a rare disease patient will serve Uplifting Athletes well today and into the future.”

Rob is a graduate of Syracuse University where he pursued a Masters in New Media Management from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He also received a B.S. from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He played football all four years at Syracuse and was voted by his teammates as a team captain his final two years.

Prior to joining Uplifting Athletes, Rob spent 12 months as the Director of Sales for ProZone Lockers. A native of suburban Philadelphia, Rob graduated from Downingtown West High School and currently lives in South Philadelphia.

 

 

Northern Arizona Chapter takes a big step forward by holding inaugural Lift For Life event


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It took time, patience and a lot of hard work, but the Northern Arizona Chapter of Uplifting Athletes held its first official Lift For Life event recently.

The members of the NAU Chapter, led by President Corbin Jountti and Vice President Devon McPeek, worked out in the early morning hours in support of its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

Proceeds from the Northern Arizona Chapter of Uplifting Athletes inaugural Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Northern Arizona Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Northern Arizona joined Uplifting Athletes in 2015 and is one of 25 student-athlete led chapter’s that help bring the vision of Uplifting Athletes to life; which is to empower people to take action against rare diseases and inspires the medical community to find cures.

 

 

 

 

Washington Chapter adds team-based competitive twist during annual Lift For Life event


WASHINGTON LFL IMAGE 16In addition to its standard early morning strength and weightlifting workout, the Washington Chapter added a little team-based twist for its second annual Lift For Life event in support of the rare disease community.

Washington’s head strength & conditioning coach, Tim Socha, split the Huskies squad into two teams made up of a mix of offensive/defensive position groups to run line drills that required them to think on their feet in addition to pushing through suicide sprints.

The special competitive part of the Washington Chapter Lift For Life inside the Dempsey Indoor Practice Facility was scored based on a strategic risk vs. reward point system of running more for 6 points (a touchdown) or running less for 3 points (a field goal).

Teams were penalized for running the incorrect yardage, which resulted in lots of loud chants and cheers from the opposition, trying to get in each other’s heads.

“There’s a little more energy on these days we’ve had, last year and this year, putting on a different shirt and having this extra spirit from the guys when we do these type of workouts,” said Washington Chapter Leader Michael Kneip. “I think everyone knows it’s a little more meaningful, and representing what we stand for — it’s a special workout for us.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Washington Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. The 2016 Lift For Life raised nearly $4,000.

Proceeds from the Washington Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

“We’re a Division I, Pac-12, big-time football school, and for us to be able to do something using our platform that affects something greater than football is really meaningful for us,” Washington Chapter leader Jeff Lindquist said. “We know that the rare disease community, while kind of fragmented, is still pretty big as a whole. So for us to be able to make an impact, even a small one, to help drive research for rare diseases is really important for us.”

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Washington Chapter provides a local impact in line with a nationwide network of teams. The Huskies founded their Seattle based Chapter in 2015.

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Maryland Chapter battles through offseason of change to host annual Lift For Life event


MARYLAND LFL IMAGE 16Maryland Chapter leaders Joe Marchese and Maurice Shelton worked hard to get a brand new coaching staff on board in order to hold an Uplifting Athletes Chapter Lift For Life event.

Change is not always easy to navigate, but the two offensive linemen cleared enough hurdles to recently hold the seventh Maryland Chapter Lift For Life in support of the rare disease community.

“Our entire team has been through a lot of change since this time last year,” said Marchese, the Maryland Chapter President. “I’m just so proud we were able to hold a Lift For Life as part of the Uplifting Athletes team and support rare diseases.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

By holding a Lift For Life, the Maryland Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

This year the Maryland Chapter raised more than $4,100. Proceeds from the Maryland Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Maryland Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

The Maryland Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2009 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Maryland Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of former Terrapins quarterback Boomer Esiason.

Esiason’s son, Gunnar, lives with the rare disease cystic fibrosis and his battle served as the inspiration for Maryland to join Uplifting Athletes.

Rare disease bond between players and coach showcased at annual Florida State Chapter Lift For Life


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For the third consecutive year the rare disease bond between the student-athlete run Florida State Chapter and Seminoles head coach, Jimbo Fisher, enjoyed a day in the spotlight at the annual FSU Chapter Lift For Life recently.

One of Fisher’s sons, Ethan, continues to battle the rare disease Fanconi anemia and serves as the inspiration for Florida State forming an Uplifting Athletes Chapter three years ago.

By holding its third Lift For Life, the FSU Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

“I can’t be any more thankful and it’s not just for Ethan,” Fisher said. “It’s for all the families that they affect. They’re making good choices for people less fortunate than them.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Florida State Chapter had a fundraising goal of $5,000 for the event, and ended up raising almost $6,000.

Proceeds from the FSU Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs in partnership with Fisher’s foundation, Kidz1stFund.

“This is the most fans we’ve ever had out here,” FSU Chapter President Alec Eberle said. “The fact that we can get everybody on the team out here for such a great cause, come together to raise as much money as possible, show up with a great attitude and class, and compete like we did, that means the most to me.”

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Florida State Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

FSU’s team unity shines during Lift For Life event (Tallahassee Democrat)

Observations from FSU football’s Lift For Life event (Tomahawk Nation)

Florida State raises over $6,000 at Lift For Life event (WTXL 27)

 

 

 

 

 

Rare Disease Patient Colin Hayward adds energy boost to Colgate Chapter Lift For Life


COLGATE LFL 16 IMAGEYou could feel the energy in the weight room as the Colgate Chapter prepared for its annual Lift For Life recently. It was max-out day on the bench press and the Raiders were focused on the task at hand.

Just before the strength staff was about to start testing the team, rare disease patient Colin Hayward and his family walked through the door.

Needless to say the energy in the room went through the roof.

Hayward is a 9-year-old who battles ependymoma, a rare form of brain cancer, and has enjoyed a three-year relationship with the Colgate Raiders football program.

“It’s a miracle and blessing just to be here,” said Colin’s father Ian Hayward. “Three months ago Colin was in hospice and we were preparing for the worst. He continues to fight, though, every single day through his relapses and surgeries.”

Hayward continues to be a source of inspiration for the Colgate Chapter in support of its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Colgate Chapter exceeded its fundraising goal of $5,000 and raised more than $8,500 from its unique pledge based Lift For Life where donations were based on pounds gained by each player on the bench press during the summer.

Proceeds from the Colgate Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

Like Colin Hayward and his family, the challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Colgate Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

The Colgate Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2008 when it joined Uplifting Athletes and continues to bring the vision of Uplifting Athletes to life; which is to empower people to take action against rare diseases and inspires the medical community to find cures.

Syracuse Chapter uses Lift For Life stage to honor a pair of rare disease patients


The back of the 2016 Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life t-shirts said it all with #TeamRob and #TeamLillian.

Former Syracuse punter Rob Long and Lillian Belfield, a pair of rare disease patients, were each in attendance last week for the annual Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life.

“This year’s Lift for Life was a great event in so many ways,” Syracuse Chapter President and center Jason Emerich said. “We were able to honor Rob and Lillian, while having the community see how hard we have been working all summer.

“The event also was a great chance for us to raise awareness of the struggles the rare disease community fights through every day.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Orange Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. This was the third Lift For Life and the Syracuse Chapter raised nearly $19,000.

Proceeds from the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

“It was also an honor to have had the first non-football players compete in a Lift for Life with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division,” Emerich said. Our relationship with Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division has grown immensely since my first year, and I am thrilled they were able to compete this year. I am excited to get them more involved in the future to help tackle rare diseases.”

Team Emerich won the competition portion of the Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life. When the event was over the athletic staff handed out 2016 team posters to fans for an autograph session with the 2016 Orange team.

The Syracuse Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2013 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of Long, a former Orange punter and team captain.

Long was diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumor in 2010 and battled through his rare disease to make a full recovery. Long continues to be a strong rare disease advocate and supporter of the Syracuse Chapter.

“I feel the future is bright for our chapter at Syracuse. We have made strides the last two years to create more awareness and raise more research dollars,” Emerich said. “I have faith the new leaders of the chapter can take this success, and continue to build on this every year.”

Syracuse Football at 4th annual Lift For Life event (Syracuse.com)

Orange raises nearly $20,000 for rare disease research (cuse.com)

2016 Lift For Life Photo Gallery (cuse.com)

Syracuse Football fights rare diseases with Lift For Life (cnycentral.com)