Last week, I had the opportunity to attend four very unique Uplifting Athletes Chapter events throughout the Midwest and one stop in the Southeast.
Although each event was vastly different from the other, all four had one common thread – each is unified through their efforts to fight rare diseases.
The morning of Sunday, July 21, the Huskers hit the pavement with their first Road Race featuring a 1-mile run and 5K. Chapter members helped make their first event a success by handling everything from preparing fruit for race finishers, running with kids for the 1-mile race to cheering on those who completed the 5K. It was a gorgeous morning in Lincoln filled with energy similar to a game day – but this time the Huskers were doing the cheering.
Part of the Midwest tour also included another first-time Chapter event at the University of Wisconsin Tuesday, July 23.
Inspired by Darien Moran, a 14-year-old boy battling Lagerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis X, the Badgers turned another day in the weight room into an awareness and fundraising opportunity. Darien was on hand to lead the players through their strength and conditioning workout that day and the lift was followed by a spirited dodgeball game. The Badgers definitely pushed themselves to the limit that afternoon and enjoyed their first event.
Nearby Big Ten rival Northwestern held its third Lift For Life on Tuesday as well. Taking advantage of a gorgeous summer evening in Evanston, the Wildcats showed off their grit outdoors on their practice field.
Fans and players alike had a wonderful evening, although the players may have enjoyed the cookout after their grueling workout a bit more. The atmosphere was parallel to a neighborhood block party – a sense of community in a fun environment.
Here at NC State, the Wolfpack hosted their second Lift For Life thankfully in a bit cooler weather than they had the previous week. With music playing through the speakers at their practice field, fans enjoyed watching the Wolfpack compete in a variety of events including a Gator-pull and relay course.
Each Chapter brought their own personality to their event and truly made it a unique experience. It was amazing to see the Chapter leaders successfully complete events after months of hard work and preparation.
In my opinion, these are the people who truly embody the definition of a leader. They refuse to accept that there is nothing they can’t do to help out people who desperately need it.
These are the young men who, in the face of hard times, put themselves on the front line instead of cowering back. It has been an absolute pleasure working with them, helping to enable them for their battle in this fight against rare diseases whether it is through a Lift For Life or Road Race.
I would also like to thank the other Chapters who have held events this year that were not part of this last leg of our “Bowl Season”. Colgate, St. Francis, Maryland, Princeton, Illinois, South Carolina, Penn State, Notre Dame, Fordham and Syracuse – you all should be proud of what you accomplished. I know we are proud of each and every one of you here at Uplifting Athletes.
Together, we can make the difference in the lives of the 30 million Americans currently suffering from a rare disease.
Becky Mayes, Uplifting Athletes Chapter Manager