Florida State and Oregon Raising Awareness for Rare Diseases at the Rose Bowl


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This is new territory for college football as the 2014 season has been all about the four teams that comprise the inaugural College Football Playoff.

What’s not new? For the second consecutive year, Florida State is on the biggest stage in college football. The defending National Champions will tangle with Oregon in the Rose Bowl in one of the national semifinal games New Year’s Day.

With so much national attention surrounding this match-up, the last two Heisman Trophy winners at quarterback and FSU on a 29-game winning streak, Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher has used this platform to shine a spotlight on a rare disease that has affected his family.

Fanconi Anemia Touchdown Pledge Drive

Oregon and Florida State each have a tie to Fanconi anemia. Former Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer has a daughter with FA and lost two other children to this rare and incurable blood disorder. And one of Fisher’s sons, Ethan, is battling Fanconi anemia.

“The Frohnmayer’s were a great learning tool and resource for us when we found out Ethan had the disease,” Fisher said during his final press conference for the Rose Bowl. “The platform they have and the platform we have, hopefully we can bring more awareness for this disease.”

Each of these powerful college families have chosen to use their platform to fight for a cure. The Frohnmayer’s founded Fanconi Anemia Research Fund (FARF) and the Fisher’s founded Kidz1stFund to raise funds for research and hopefully one day a cure.

For the Rose Bowl game, the FA Research Fund and Kidz1stFund teamed up with the Florida State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes to raise awareness for Fanconi anemia and the rare disease community.

A head-to-head fan Touchdown Pledge Drive has given each fan base the opportunity to make every touchdown scored in the 2015 Rose Bowl mean much more than six points on the scoreboard.

To join either team’s fundraising efforts for Fanconi anemia research, visit pldgit.com/rosebowl2015.

Payton Poulin is the Star of FSU Practice

Florida State isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to supporting the rare disease community.

For two years Payton Poulin, a 20-year-old sophomore at FSU, has served as an inspiration to the Seminoles football team. Poulin suffers from schizencephaly, an extremely rare birth defect similar to cerebral palsy, and is bound to a wheelchair.

Last year after meeting former FSU wide receiver Kenny Shaw when the two had a class together, Shaw invited Poulin to practice.

Poulin has been to almost every practice each of the last two years, made the trip to Pasadena last year for the BCS National Championship and is here with the team again.

Tuesday after practice, the Seminoles cheered as Poulin scored a touchdown. The 20-year-old left his chair behind, and with the help of quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive end DeMarcus Walker, walked 50 yards into the end zone to the delight of his teammates.

And when the Seminoles assembled for the official Rose Bowl team photo Wednesday at the stadium, a couple players noticed something wasn’t right as the photographer was about to start snapping shots. Payton was not in the shot and they called him to get in the official 2015 Rose Bowl team picture.

“We are blessed to have you Payton,” Fisher said as the team gathered around. “We love you Payton, you are part of our family.”

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