For the third and final time, Joe Spencer ran point as the Illinois Chapter President for the Fighting Illini’s annual Lift For Life event last Friday inside Memorial Stadium.
Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.
Only two years young when Spencer, an offensive lineman from Ohio, assumed the role of president, the Illinois Chapter has enjoyed steady growth each of the last three years.
This was the fifth Illinois Chapter Lift For Life, and it raised a record nearly $22,000 in support of the rare disease community through Uplifting Athletes.
“Overall, this Lift For Life turned out to be one of the best for our chapter,” said Spencer, who during his tenure as Illinois Chapter President helped raise more than $45,000.
“This is a tribute to the hard work put in by our team the past few weeks as well as the Illini community for getting behind this amazing cause.”
The Illini Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.
One of the more colorful events on the Uplifting Athletes Lift For Life event circuit, the Illini divided up into eight teams and competed in events like the 700-pound tire flip and 225-pound bench press among others.
The Red Team comprised of Altan Aldemir, Desmond Cain, Chunky Clements, Nathan Echard, Ryan Frain, Ahmari Hayes, Kenyon Jackson, Gabe Megginson, Patrick Nelson, Ryan Tuckerand and Tyler White came out on top.
“We would like to thank everyone who came out to our event and to all those who donated to our cause,” Spencer said. “Raising nearly $22,00 is an amazing achievement and it will go far in helping those who affected by rare diseases.”
The Illinois Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2012 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Illinois Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of Andrew Carter, a former Illini offensive lineman who battled the rare disease acoustic neuroma in 2011.
Carter is now a rare disease survivor but he unfortunately never played football again.
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 Illinois 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.
“As my tenure as President comes to an end I would like to thank all of my teammates and the Illini community for what they have helped turn our chapter into,” Spencer said. “My time as President has been a blessing and I look forward to a continued relationship with Uplifting Athletes and the rare disease community.
“Together We Are Stronger!”