At Penn State Chapter young leaders get involved with Uplifting Athletes

Penn State football student-athletes involved with Uplifting Athletes will provide periodic updates on the activities and happenings of the Nittany Lions’ chapter in 2014. They will also share some of their thoughts on the Penn State experience, community service, leadership and life. Freshman quarterback Michael O’Connor, who enrolled early at Penn State, authored the initial entry.

Penn State freshman quarterback Michael O'Connor on first day of spring practice. (Photo courtesy Joe Hermitt/

Penn State freshman quarterback Michael O’Connor on first day of spring practice. (Photo courtesy Joe Hermitt/

I grew up in Ottawa, Canada before moving to Tennessee my junior year of high school to follow my dream of playing NCAA Division I college football.

After my junior year, I transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, a sports academy where I could continue to develop as a football player. I committed to Penn State, after taking two visits, because I fell in love with the school and community.

Once I arrived on campus I was introduced to Uplifting Athletes. It’s a great organization that gives guys like us, college football student-athletes, the chance to give back and make a difference in the lives of the people in the rare disease community.

I feel that it is so important to give back to your community because it helps provide a fresh perspective on the importance of our actions and the effects that they have.

Every one of us is capable of making a difference in somebody’s life, and we all should be encouraged help others. Uplifting Athletes provides Penn State football players an amazing opportunity to do just that. I am honored to give another loud and strong voice to the kidney cancer community.

My initial interactions with Uplifting Athletes and the kidney cancer community have already made a real impact on my life, inspiring me to continue moving forward when faced with difficult circumstances.

Seeing the struggles that people who have been touched by rare diseases go through, and understanding the impact that we can make, is inspiring to me and my teammates.

I am really excited to see Uplifting Athletes, and my role in it, continue to grow throughout my career.

For more information about the Uplifting Athletes Penn State Chapter send an email to:

Click here if you would like to make a donation to Uplifting Athletes Penn State Chapter.

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