Uplifting Athletes is set to tie the theme of the NFL Draft and Rare Disease Research together on August 18 in Philadelphia.
The inaugural Young Investigator Draft presented by CSL Behring will take place at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Former Princeton running back and 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion winner Jordan Culbreath will serve as the Keynote Speaker.
Culbreath was living out his dream at Princeton in 2009. The native of Falls Church, Virginia was getting the Ivy League education he desired and the walk-on was having a real impact on the football field for the Tigers as a standout running back.
Prior to the 2009 season, Culbreath was experiencing severe headaches and fatigue. He chalked it up to football and the added pressure of being named a team captain so he kept his symptoms to himself. Luckily, he sprained his ankle in the second game that season against Lehigh and told the team doctors the other symptoms he was dealing with.
The medical staff immediately had his blood tested and it revealed Culbreath was battling the rare blood disorder aplastic anemia. Had he not sprained his ankle the second game of the year it could have been much worse. Culbreath’s blood count numbers were dangerously low and potentially fatal.
“I’m very lucky. I know that. Had I not sprained my ankle who knows what would have happened to me,” said Culbreath, who works on Wall Street in New York City for Merrill Lynch. “I don’t take anything for granted. Uplifting Athletes and the work they do is important to me and I’m honored to be asked to share my story at the Young Investigator Draft.”
Culbreath immediately started treatment and missed the remainder of the 2009 season. At first, his priority was to get healthy, nothing else. Once he was healthy enough to think about playing football again, Culbreath focused on a return to the field and was cleared to return after six months.
He came back in 2010 and played his final season for the Tigers, scoring the winning touchdown in overtime against Lafayette in only his second game back. His courage and ability to overcome served as an inspiration for not only his teammates but also the entire Rare Disease Community.
The Young Investigator Draft presented by CSL Behring is the result of Uplifting Athletes’ ongoing commitment to cultivate resources that accelerate scientific advancements for rare disease treatments and potential cures while facilitating the next generation of rare disease researchers.
CSL Behring is a global biotechnology leader focused on serving patients’ needs. Their scientists use the latest technologies to develop and deliver innovative therapies that are used to treat rare and serious conditions, including immunodeficiency and autoimmune diseases, hereditary and acquired bleeding disorders, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, hereditary angioedema and Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, as well as transplantation and critical care.