Uplifting Athletes kicked off its 2018 Lift For Life season with successful events at six FCS Chapters: Colgate, Davidson, Penn, Princeton, Saint Francis and Stony Brook.
The six events combined to raise more than $30,000 for Uplifting Athletes in support of its mission and commitment to our four charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.
Each member of the Uplifting Athletes team hit the road this spring to attend at least one of the Lift For Life events. Chapter Manager Brett Brackett made stops at Davidson, Princeton and Stony Brook, Scott Shirley traveled to Colgate, Andy Shay went to Saint Francis and Rob Long visited UPenn.
Each team member shared a brief account of what made these Lift For Life events unique and special.
SAINT FRANCIS: There was a competitive fire that was very obvious the moment you walked into the Red Flash weight room. It was a Saturday morning and normally that doesn’t fire guys up in the middle of the spring practice grind. But the Saint Francis team was ready to crush its goals. The big talk was about who would be the five players to represent each side of the ball in the offense vs. defense bench press max-out challenge to determine the winner. The music was thumping and the players were cheering as guys took their turn knocking out as many repetitions as possible. I was impressed with the commitment the strength and conditioning staff has to what the chapter is trying to accomplish. That’s an overlooked part of the equation to success, and at Saint Francis the Red Flash have an asset that helps make Lift For Life a success. – Andy Shay
DAVIDSON: This spring was Davidson’s first Lift For Life but you couldn’t tell that by the show of enthusiasm bright and early that morning. The entire team plus coaching staff packed into the narrow weight room to see which team could average the most reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. The teams wasted no time surrounding their respective benches and chanting as each rep was performed. As the voices echoed off the walls and the reps increased, so did the total fundraising amounts for each team. Team Cats Are Wild mastered the competition finishing with over $2,500 raised to support Uplifting Athletes. Second place went to Cats Crushing Rare Cancer with nearly $2,400 raised. The Davidson coaches and players felt the extra motivation to push out extra reps knowing they were supporting such a worthy cause. – Brett Brackett
PRINCETON: The weather could not have been better on the Princeton University campus for their annual Lift For Life event. This only added to the excitement and energy found outside of the Frist Student Center. Two bench racks, two large tractor tires, and one box jump station were enough to provide ample opportunity for the student-athletes to unleash their energy in support of the Rare Disease Community. From the start, the air was electric as the student-athletes cheered and chanted as reps were performed representing another dollar raised in support of Uplifting Athletes. Overall, the offense came away with a clean sweep of all three challenges, however, the defense barely topped the offense in total team fundraising with $2,848 and $2,823 respectively. – Brett Brackett
COLGATE: The country roads leading me back to Hamilton, NY, always afford me the opportunity to reflect on my journey with Uplifting Athletes. Every chapter has a unique story and a special place in my heart…but it’s the drive to-and-from Colgate University in 2008 that I’ll never forget. Days after meeting then Colgate Athletic Director, Dave Roach, at NACDA in Dallas, I accepted his invitation to visit with their student-athletes to talk about expanding the Lift For Life from Penn State to other college campuses. I drove the four hours from Harrisburg to campus and met with Greg, Pat & Stephen in a coffee shop on the square. We outlined the necessary next steps to create the first “new chapter” of Uplifting Athletes. The windshield time allowed me to daydream about how big Uplifting Athletes could become and this was the first step. When I arrived home that evening, I was greeted by an email from Greg that enthusiastically communicated that they had completed ALL of the necessary steps and were ready to go! Returning to Colgate for their 10th Lift For Life was an amazing opportunity for me to use this benchmark to measure our progress and impact…while reaffirming my belief in the student-athletes’ resolve to use their platform and help others. Many of them did not know me, and I did not know them…but it didn’t matter because Uplifting Athletes is bigger than any of us. – Scott Shirley
STONY BROOK: Despite Mother Nature’s best effort to derail the spirits of the team, Stony Brook Uplifting Athletes held its annual Lift For Life on March 7 during one of several snowstorms that hit the east coast in the month of March. The impact that the Stony Brook Lift For Life had on the Rare Disease Community was far greater than the impact the storm had the Stony Brook community that day. The squad divided into five teams for a strength and conditioning competition. In addition, the teams battled to see which team could raise the most money to support Uplifting Athletes. Team Daniels prevailed as the largest part of the overall total of $5,145 raised by Stony Brook. Once the weather cleared, I was able to make a trip to Stony Brook to watch one of their spring practices. The leaders of Stony Brook Chapter have done a tremendous job creating an atmosphere amongst the team that projects a giving spirit and a willingness to leverage their platform as college football players to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community. – Brett Brackett
PENN: The 2018 UPenn Lift for Life was full of energy and excitement. The players took turns gathering around the bench racks to encourage their teammates with raucous cheers to get as many reps as possible to benefit Uplifting Athletes. Chapter Presidents Cooper Gardner and Steve Farrell set the pace with their lifts and other teammates followed suit. The Penn team headed in to the summer on a high and with their sites set on capturing another Ivy League title. – Rob Long
Thank you to all of those that supported these exciting and meaningful events. The summer events schedule for our FBS Chapters is in the works.