Greetings from Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. We are here with our partner, the Maxwell Football Club, for its annual National Awards Gala. Uplifting Athletes is on this stage to honor and recognize our 2013 Rare Disease Champion Eric Shrive from Penn State University.
This is the fifth year Uplifting Athletes has recognized a Rare Disease Champion. But it’s the first time we have presented this award on the stage of a national awards gala.
Thursday afternoon was production day for the video honoring Shrive that will run during Friday night’s dinner. The segment will be aired on ESPN3 during the dinner portion of the program, between 6:30-7 p.m. Friday night.
Current NY Giants and former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich came down from New York to present Shrive with the trophy. As a rare disease survivor, and the reason Boston College started an Uplifting Athletes chapter, Herzlich believes in the Uplifting Athletes mission.
A picture of Herzlich was the inspiration for the trophy, and it was a special moment to see the man whose likeness is the framework for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion trophy hand our 2013 winner his trophy.
“Penn State University offensive lineman Eric Shrive has already raised close to $70,000 during his career and has a personal goal of raising $100,000 by his senior season. As the newly elected President of the Penn State chapter Eric hopes to inspire his teammates to achieve an ambitious goal this year of raising $300,000 through their Lift For Life event,” Herzlich said. “Achieving this goal would bring the Penn State chapter of Uplifting Athletes to a total of 1 million dollars raised in support of kidney cancer research since 2003.
“It gives me great honor and pride, on behalf of Uplifting Athletes and the Maxwell Football Club, to present Eric Shrive with this trophy.”
Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Scott Shirley was also part of the presentation, joining Herzlich and Shrive on the stage. This is a taped piece, so mistakes were bound to happen.
With the camera rolling, the trio went to work. Herzlich and Shrive had reviewed their lines, but just in case had their phones at the podium to use as reference. But each football player forgot about the sleep feature on the iPhone, and neither was able to use their notes when the camera started rolling.
That didn’t matter. The passion Shirley, Herzlich and Shrive share for Uplifting Athletes took over under the bright lights. All three nailed their lines and one take was all it took.
“You don’t have to be diagnosed with a rare disease to be our Rare Disease Champion,” Shirley said. “Penn State junior offensive lineman Eric Shrive embodies the essence of this award as part of our mission at Uplifting Athletes.”
Being able to honor Shrive for his accomplishments, raising nearly $70,000 and ascending to a strong leadership role as President of the Penn State chapter, as part of the Maxwell National Awards Gala elevates the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion campaign to another level.
“On behalf of the 1 in 10 Americans who will be diagnosed with one of the approximately 7,000 different rare diseases that collectively affect more than 30 million Americans … Together we are stronger,” Shrive said. “Thank you to all the college football fans that voted for me, and congratulations to the other six finalists this year.
“Part of being a Penn State player means you learn to give back. It’s my privilege to the fight against rare diseases for those who can’t.”