Summer Lift For Life: Ten events all focused on shining a spotlight on rare diseases


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Before we wave goodbye to summer and usher in the college football season, let’s take a look back at a fast and furious six weeks that was the second phase of our 2017 Lift For Life season.

This summer featured a milestone Lift For Life, a road race that turned five years young and continues to grow, a Kids Combine where National Champions hang out, an inaugural Lift For Life at a history-rich institution and one chapter getting back on the rotation.

Ten events took place in July and early August with a singular focus: shining a spotlight on rare diseases and inspiring others with hope.

Our first stop is a milestone for Uplifting Athletes. Our charter chapter at Penn State held its 15th annual Lift For Life. The Nittany Lions moved indoors this year to Holuba Hall and focused on an offense vs. defense max bench press competition to add some spice for the players.

The work done behind the scenes by each chapter leadership team can be a driving force to measurable success. Maryland and Illinois held private Lift For Life events this year, yet it was clear each chapter was raising awareness and shining a spotlight on rare diseases. That speaks highly to the chapter leadership for the Illini and Terrapins.

For the fifth consecutive year the Nebraska Chapter hosted the Football Road Race that featured a 5K and 1-mile run. The event is strongly supported by the Lincoln Track Club, and this year the event saw a record number of online registrants.  More than 700 total runners came out on a Sunday morning to show that in the Cornhusker state, rare pediatric cancers matter.

Patience and perseverance paid off for the Notre Dame Chapter. After years of trying to get a Lift For Life up and running through all the proper channels, the 2017 leadership team finally cleared all the hurdles and the Fighting Irish not only did their Uplifting Experience annual bowling event, but got after it in the weight room on max leg presses to give their Lift For Life some competitive juice.

In true Defending National Champion-style, Clemson added the inaugural Kids Combine to their summer event schedule. This was in addition to the Tigers holding their annual Lift For Life.

Florida State’s players continue to champion the rare disease cause in support of coach Jimbo Fisher’s son Ethan and his battle with a rare blood disorder. This was the fourth year the Seminoles have used Lift For Life to put a cap on their summer workout season.

Syracuse continues to build its strong roots in support of the rare disease community. The Orange and their relationship with the Belfield family continue to be a source of inspiration, and once again rare disease patient Lillian and her family were part of Lift For Life.

For the third year in a row the NC State Chapter used a combination of individual and 7-on-7 drills as the highlights of the Wolfpack Lift For Life. Once again having their event open to the public was the key to spreading the word about rare diseases.

And the final Lift For Life event this summer featured an FCS chapter – Fordham – that last held an Uplifting Athletes event in 2014. The Rams put the pieces back together and made rare diseases a priority again in the Bronx.

On behalf of the rare disease community we serve, thanks to every chapter leader, college football student-athlete, donor, volunteer and university administrator who helped make Lift For Life 2017 possible.

Together … We Are … Stronger!

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