The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), is given annually to a leader in college football who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community.
We afforded each finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award the opportunity to be featured in our Beyond The Finalist series.
Name: Antwan Dixon
University: Kent State University
Position: Wide Receiver
What about your journey do you always make sure to share when telling your story?
Dixon: When telling my story I make sure people know about all the obstacles I had to overcome to get back to where I am now. I know this doesn’t answer the question but I don’t tell everyone enough about my mother (Shemariah Dixon). Even though my dad was my donor, I know if my mom was put in that position she would have done it with no hesitation. She was literally with me every single day that she could. Missing weeks of work and if she did go to work, she was trying to get back as fast as possible. There were many nights she didn’t sleep because I couldn’t sleep and I wish she could win an award for everything she did for me. But I know she feels she’s got an award in me still being on this earth.
Can you tell us your ‘welcome to college football (either as a player or coach) moment’?
Dixon: My ‘welcome to college football moment’ was at our first home game against Delaware State. It was my second game, the second series of the game I got my first career reception on a screen toward the middle for a touchdown.
What is the one piece of advice or encouragement that’s stuck with you over time? Who gave it to you and what is it?
Dixon: My mom told me, after I didn’t run my fastest on play when I was younger, if you don’t use your gift that God gave you then it can be taken away from me at any time.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Dixon: Bad Boy II is my favorite movie because Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are great actors together and I love action comedies.
If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?
Dixon: I would have lunch with Inky Johnson. He is a great speaker and has been through a lot. I want to be a motivational speaker as well. It would be an honor to meet him.
Your favorite aspect of being a part of college football?
Dixon: I love being a role model. The kids after the game shaking your hand is my favorite aspect. Win or Lose, they still want to be like you and look up to you.
Last few songs you downloaded?
Dixon: Homebody by Lil Durk ft. TK Kravitz & Gunna; Every Season by Roddy Rich; Life Goes On by Lil Baby
What would winning the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award mean to you?
Dixon: Winning the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award would mean a lot to me because it means that my story has reached many individuals around the world that may need an inspiration. I’ve met some great people throughout my journey and it would be a great accomplishment for me considering what I’ve been through. Being a nominee for this award is great too. Reading the stories of the other men makes it a honor for me to be in the running for this award with them.