Penn State football held its 16th annual Lift For Life this past Saturday to benefit Uplifting Athletes and the Rare Disease Community.
Nearly 1,000 fans came out to Holuba Hall to get an up-close look at the more than 100 Nittany Lions that took part in the event run by the student-athlete led Penn State Chapter.
“As a freshman I didn’t know what Lift For Life really was or what it meant. Being a part of Penn State Football, Lift For Life is part of our culture. It’s part of who we are and what we do,” Penn State Chapter Co-President and offensive lineman Ryan Bates said. “Using the power of sport, in our case football, to raise awareness for rare diseases and also having some fun is awesome.”
Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Penn State is one of 22 chapters in Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of chapters led by college football student-athletes. Each chapter embraces the mission of Uplifting Athletes using college football as a platform to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.
This year the Penn State Chapter Lift For Life raised $93,658 in support of Uplifting Athletes and its four charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders. This brings the Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes 2018 Chapter Total to $114,686. That total includes 2018 Lift For Life, 2018 Reps For Rare Diseases Campaigns run by Troy Apke, Mike Gesicki, Grant Haley and Jason Cabinda, in addition to the 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive.
“There’s a lot of people out there who battle these rare diseases and the fundraising we do is for a good cause,” PSU Chapter Co-President and offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez said. “I’m honored to be part of this because it’s something bigger than myself and I’ve learned that.”
Since its inception in 2003 as the charter chapter of Uplifting Athletes, the Penn State Chapter has raised nearly $1.4 million for the Rare Disease Community.
Today, the challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The Penn State Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community to shine a spotlight on rare diseases.
“I think it’s awesome to see where this event has grown to. It started with two guys in their room thinking about how they could use the platform they have to raise awareness for the Rare Disease Community,” Penn State starting quarterback and 2017 PSU Chapter Co-President Trace McSorley said.
“To see where it’s grown to now is awesome. It’s a testament to the guys in the program and how it’s been passed along through the generations of guys as they came through here. We take it serious, and it’s cool when we reach out and say this is something we are passionate about our fans respond.”