Syracuse Chapter uses Lift For Life stage to honor a pair of rare disease patients

The back of the 2016 Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life t-shirts said it all with #TeamRob and #TeamLillian.

Former Syracuse punter Rob Long and Lillian Belfield, a pair of rare disease patients, were each in attendance last week for the annual Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life.

“This year’s Lift for Life was a great event in so many ways,” Syracuse Chapter President and center Jason Emerich said. “We were able to honor Rob and Lillian, while having the community see how hard we have been working all summer.

“The event also was a great chance for us to raise awareness of the struggles the rare disease community fights through every day.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Orange Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. This was the third Lift For Life and the Syracuse Chapter raised nearly $19,000.

Proceeds from the Syracuse Chapter of Uplifting Athletes annual Lift For Life supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

“It was also an honor to have had the first non-football players compete in a Lift for Life with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division,” Emerich said. Our relationship with Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division has grown immensely since my first year, and I am thrilled they were able to compete this year. I am excited to get them more involved in the future to help tackle rare diseases.”

Team Emerich won the competition portion of the Syracuse Chapter Lift For Life. When the event was over the athletic staff handed out 2016 team posters to fans for an autograph session with the 2016 Orange team.

The Syracuse Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2013 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of Long, a former Orange punter and team captain.

Long was diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumor in 2010 and battled through his rare disease to make a full recovery. Long continues to be a strong rare disease advocate and supporter of the Syracuse Chapter.

“I feel the future is bright for our chapter at Syracuse. We have made strides the last two years to create more awareness and raise more research dollars,” Emerich said. “I have faith the new leaders of the chapter can take this success, and continue to build on this every year.”

Syracuse Football at 4th annual Lift For Life event (

Orange raises nearly $20,000 for rare disease research (

2016 Lift For Life Photo Gallery (

Syracuse Football fights rare diseases with Lift For Life (





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