Uplifting Athletes to welcome 40-plus college football student-athletes for 10th Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta


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The bedrock of the Uplifting Leaders program at Uplifting Athletes is the college football student-athletes that guide our nationwide network of chapters.

These student-athletes already have the drive and passion to help others and that is why they chose to step up and become chapter leaders to help us serve the Rare Disease Community.

In order to help them become even stronger leaders and advocates, Uplifting Athletes will gather these college football student-athletes together in late January for three days of education, training and networking at the 2019 Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta.

This will be the 10th consecutive year Uplifting Athletes has put together a weekend of intense leadership development and relationship building for current and prospective chapter leaders.

“We are thrilled to host a fantastic group of student-athletes for a three-day conference focused on enhancing life skills, transferable skills recognition, and leadership development through Uplifting Athletes programming,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett said. “Our goal is to provide the student-athletes with the skills necessary to returned to campus empowered to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community.

This year 44 current football players from 22 universities across the country will travel to Atlanta on Friday, January 25 to kick off a busy weekend of engaging work sessions, networking and relationship building.

Among the 22 schools that will be represented in Atlanta, four of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Kent State, New Mexico, Mississippi State and Duquesne have student-athletes attending for the first time.

Current Chapter leaders from Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Florida State, Lehigh, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Syracuse, Illinois, Saint Francis, Penn, Northwestern, Maryland, Princeton, Stony Brook, Fordham and Western Michigan will also be in attendance.

The 2019 Leadership Development Conference will kick off with a team meal Friday night prior to a full weekend agenda.

The conference content is developed and driven by the Uplifting Athletes staff, but will also feature a panel of former student-athletes answering questions about the transition to the professional world.

Included in the workshop sessions on Saturday and Sunday are an overview of Uplifting Athletes, Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive event planning and transferable life skills development.

The highlight of Saturday will be an Uplifting Experience for the student-athletes to interact with local Atlanta area rare disease patients.

We are very excited to bring this group together to learn from each other, to strategize together and to foster the sense of teamwork that inspires us all.

A successful 2018 Year In Review


HappyHolidays-UAMay your days be filled with Peace, Hope and Joy this Holiday Season!

On behalf of the 30 million Americans that comprise the Rare Disease Community, our staff and team of college football student-athletes thank you for your loyalty and support in 2018!  It has been a memorable year and we thank you for helping us achieve our mission.

Most recently, our team was able to be a part of an Uplifting Experience in Seattle. Former University of Illinois and current Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, Malik Turner, hosted a rare disease patient family for the day at the Seahawks facility. Turner continued to build on that relationship during the NFL My Cause My Cleats campaign by securing tickets for ADNP patient Tony Sermone and his family for the game. One of his cleats had the initials “T” and “S” on the back in Tony’s honor. After the game Malik was able to present the signed cleat he wore in the game to Tony.

MALIK YEAR END GRAPHIC

Without your support this type of Uplifting Experience would not be possible. Would you consider making a year-end donation to Uplifting Athletes?

2018 also featured plenty of new and exciting milestones for Uplifting Athletes including:

-New Uplifting Athletes chapters established at Western Michigan, Davidson and Lehigh.

-38 NFL prospects participated in our Reps For Rare Diseases campaign during their NFL Combine and individual pro day workouts.

-Held our inaugural Young Investigator Draft in August at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and scheduled our 2019 event for March 9th back at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Young Investigator Draft is the result of our ongoing commitment to rare disease research. In 2018 we distributed six $10,000 grants to six individual researchers.

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-During the 2018 season, the first ever Rare Disease Awareness Games were held involving Uplifting Athletes Chapter match-ups between Syracuse vs. Western Michigan and Penn vs. Princeton. The chapters wore Uplifting Athletes helmets stickers, #WeTackleRare wristbands and recognized local rare disease patient families during a game break.

-We crowned Coach Joshua Eargle from Austin Peay State University as the 11th winner of the Rare Disease Champion Award – given 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 also enjoyed seeing our 10th winner of the award, Shaquem Griffin from UCF, selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

These are just a few of the 2018 highlights. We have bigger and bolder plans for 2019. As always, though, we need your help.

Please consider giving a gift to support the Rare Disease Community we serve. We can’t do any of this without you!

#WeTackleRare

Scott, Rob, Brett, John, Karen and Andy

 

 

Princeton Tigers complete perfect season highlights Week 12 Chapter Update


PRINCETON GRAPHICPrinceton finished off its first perfect season since 1964 and earned the 2018 Ivy League title with a victory over rival Penn in front of nearly 8,000 fans.

The victory clinched the fourth outright Ivy League title in program history, and the first since 1995. It was also the program’s second 7-0 Ivy season since league play officially began in 1956.

Princeton raced out to a 21-0 lead before Penn battled back with a score just before the half and on its opening possession of the third quarter to slice the deficit to 21-14.

The second touchdown of the game made the 2018 Princeton Tigers the highest scoring offense in Ivy League history. Princeton finished the season with 470 points, surpassing the previous record of 437 points, set by the 2013 Tigers Ivy League championship team.

Teams from the Ivy League are not eligible for the NCAA FCS playoffs. Princeton ended the regular season as the second-ranked scoring offense, the third-ranked total offense and the sixth-ranked rushing offense in the FCS.

Princeton QB John Lovett put up nearly 400 yards of offense and set an Ivy League record to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor

Colgate: For the first time since 2003, the Raiders will host a home playoff game. Colgate dropped its regular-season finale with now nationally ranked Army by two touchdowns. But the 9-1 Patriot League champion Raiders earned a No. 8 seed from the NCAA FCS football playoff committee. Colgate has a bye in the first round and will host the winner of James Madison vs. Delaware at Andy Kerr Stadium on December 1.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish took a huge step toward securing a berth in the College Football Playoff behind a defense that stymied No. 12 Syracuse at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame limited an Orange offense that had been averaging nearly 500 yards and 44 points a game to less than 250 yards and a late field goal. The Irish D posted three interceptions, six sacks and had 11 tackles for a loss. Notre Dame is 11-0 and closes the regular season with a road game at USC.

Clemson: Despite a slow start offensively, the undefeated Tigers continued their march toward another ACC title and berth in the College Football Playoff with a victory over Duke. Clemson fell behind 6-0, then rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the second and third quarters. Running back Travis Etienne put the game away with touchdown runs of 27 and 29 yards in the third quarter.

Davidson: With four straight losses by a touchdown or less, the Wildcats found themselves in another tight battle with Butler down the stretch. Of those four losses, one game in double overtime and the other three Davidson had the lead with 4:00 to play. The Wildcats defense came up huge this time, stopping Butler four times from inside the 5-yard-line in the final minute for an epic goal-line stand. The victory allowed Davidson to finish 6-5 overall and post its first winning season since 2007.

Northwestern: The Big Ten West champion Wildcats used three rushing touchdowns to subdue Minnesota and in the process earned road victory No. 8 in a row for Northwestern. The Wildcats also improved to 7-1 in conference play for the first time since 1996.

Penn State: Freshman tight end Pat Friermuth caught a pair of touchdown passes and the Nittany Lions defense came up with three takeaways to power No. 15 PSU past Rutgers. The win was No. 30 for senior quarterback Trace McSorley, giving him the school record for victories. In addition, McSorley became just third quarterback in Big Ten history to surpass 100 career touchdowns responsible for, joining Drew Brees (Purdue) and J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) as the only Big Ten quarterbacks to accomplish the feat.

Lehigh: In the 154th meeting with rival Lafayette, the Mountain Hawks used a fast start to grab a 17-0 lead before the game was nine minutes old and never looked back. The Lehigh defense limited Lafayette to 234 total yards and its fewest points since beating Georgetown 35-3 in 2016.

NC State: The Wolfpack scored a season-high 52 points and put up the most points in an ACC road game since they scored 55 at Duke in 2001. NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon had seven catches for 100 yards and touchdown. Harmon, a junior from New Jersey, went over 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight season. He is only the third player in school history (Torry Holt, Jerricho Cotchery) to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving twice in his career.

Fordham: Led by defense that improved as the season went along, the Rams closed out the season with a road victory. Antonio Jackson picked off a pass for Fordham and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to put the Rams ahead for good in this low-scoring affair.

Florida State: The Seminoles snapped a three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion by using a big play in the final 2 minutes to rally past No. 22 Boston College at home. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois hit Tamorrion Terry with a 74-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 1:49 to play to put the Seminoles in front for good. This was the Seminoles first win over a ranked opponent since the 2016 Orange Bowl victory against Michigan.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 12 v.'18

 

October meant much more than six points per touchdown for the Rare Disease Community


TDPD 18 WRAP-UP GRAPHICFor the participating members of our nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters, touchdowns during the month of October meant more than six points on the board. Each touchdown provided support to the Rare Disease Community.

The Touchdown Pledge Drive 2018 month-long campaign took place on 15 university campuses. Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Fordham, Illinois, Lehigh, NC State, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, Princeton, Saint Francis, Stony Brook, Syracuse and Western Michigan all participated.

“I am very impressed with our chapter leaders and how they took advantage of their platform to provide much needed awareness and support to the Rare Disease Community,” Uplifting Athletes Director Sports Impact Brett Brackett said.

Using the on-field performance of touchdowns scored is a simple way for chapter leaders to share the rare disease cause with their fan bases and leverage their platform when they are most relevant. This year the 15 schools combined to score 222 touchdowns in October.

Raising awareness for the cause on behalf of the Rare Disease Community is another pillar of the Touchdown Pledge Drive campaign. With the help of university athletic communications, individual student-athletes and coaches commitment to raising awareness, this year the campaign generated four million impressions on social media.

“We are grateful to everyone who supported this month-long campaign, chapter leaders, coaches, athletic departments and fans,” Brackett said. “Thanks for being part of our team during October and using your performance on the field to have a real impact off the field.”

The direct impact on the Rare Disease Community came through the fundraising for each touchdown scored. And those 222 touchdowns scored raised more than $25,000 to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Illinois, Penn State and Western Michigan chapters were the top three on the fundraising impact leaderboard with the Fighting Illini leading the pack.

The challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of our nationwide network of teams is uniquely positioned shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Through Touchdown Pledge Drive our chapters came together as one team each working hard to meet their individual goal in order to help us all Tackle Rare Diseases.

Davidson Chapter leader and defensive back Kevin Stipe featured in latest Beyond The Trophy series


STIPEEach week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

 Name: Kevin Stipe

College: Davidson College

Height, weight, class, position: 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, junior, cornerback

High School: Wesleyan HS in Alpharetta, Georgia

About Stipe: After appearing in six games as a true freshman in 2016 where he made a dozen tackles and recorded his first collegiate interception, Stipe missed most of last season when he suffered an injury after appearing in two games. … Co-founder and leader of the Davidson Chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Stipe has served as an inspirational leader in getting the Wildcats chapter up and running to serve the Rare Disease Community. … This season he has appeared in four games while coming back from injury and has recorded three tackles. … Named to the 2017 Pioneer Football League (PFL) Academic Honor Roll in 2017.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

Stipe: My most memorable experience as a college football player was when I started my first game Freshmen year. My entire family was there for the game to support me.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

Stipe: I heard about the organization from one of my good friends and teammates, who had heard about it from some of his high school friends. When I learned what the organization was about, I immediately wanted to be a part. I loved the idea of using the platform we have as athletes to promote such a good cause that a lot of people don’t know about.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

Stipe: First and foremost, I have learned how important it is to take the time to give back to others in need. Whether this is holding events to raise money for those in the rare disease community that need our support, or simply visiting children’s hospitals to brighten someone’s day, spending time giving back to others is extremely important. I have also learned how to be a more effective leader and how to communicate more effectively. I have learned so many skills and valuable lessons from my experiences with Uplifting Athletes.

.As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

Stipe: My favorite part of a home game day is having more down time to mentally and physically prepare for the game.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

Stipe: Cam Newton because of his style of play and the way he has fun playing the game he loves.

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

Stipe: Probably one of my grandparents that I didn’t get to spend much time with. I would love to ask them about all their experiences and stories I have heard over the years.

What is your favorite road stadium you ever played in and why?

Stipe: Western Carolina because of the enormous band and crazy atmosphere.

 HOT SEAT QUESTIONS

What is your perfect pizza?

Stipe: BBQ Chicken

Last 3 songs you added to your playlist?

Stipe: In My Feelings- Drake; Sicko Mode- Travis Scott and Hopeless Romantic- Wiz Khalifa

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

Stipe: Chick-fil-A

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

Stipe: Atlanta Braves

What is the most used app on your phone?

Stipe: Twitter

No. 1 goal for yourself in 5 years?

Stipe: Work in the Financial Industry in Atlanta, close to my family

 

 

 

 

Illinois claims first Big Ten victory since 2016 to highlight Week 6 Chapter Update


WEEK 6 GRAPHICIllinois has already won more games in 2018 than it did all of last year when the Fighting Illini ran past Rutgers by 21 points on the road.

The Illini are now 3-2 overall and the triumph over the Scarlet Knights ended a 13-game losing streak in the Big Ten Conference.

Prior to Saturday, the last conference victory for Illinois came over Michigan State in November of 2016.

The key against Rutgers was a commitment to the ground game that produced a pair of 100-yard rushers and the Illini defense forcing turnovers.

Illinois picked off three passes against Rutgers, including the first pass attempt of the game, and now has 10 interceptions in five games.

Catch up with Stony Brook Chapter leader Marc Nolan in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: The Wildcats ended their three-game slide by improving to 2-0 on the road and knocking Michigan State out of the Top 25 for the second year in a row. QB Clayton Thorson had four total touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing) and Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald picked up victory No. 50 in the Big Ten Conference.

Baylor: Kicker Connor Martin had a brutal day for the Bears until it came time to kick the winning field goal. Martin, who had already misfired on three field goals and an extra point, provided Baylor with victory No. 4 this season by nailing a 29-yard field goal in the closing seconds to knock off Kansas State.

Princeton: From the start of the second quarter when it was a 7-7 game, Princeton scored on eight of its next nine drives to run away from Lehigh. The FCS nationally ranked Tigers posted a single-game school record 733 yards of total offense and improved to 4-0 overall.

Princeton Tigers quarterback John Lovett accounts for nearly 400 yards as part of a record setting day to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Davidson: The Wildcats moved to 5-1 overall and won back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2007 by holding on to edge Jacksonville. That same year, 2007, was also the last time Davidson won at least five football games in a season. The Wildcats posted more than 300 yards rushing again and scored six of the first seven times they had the ball.

NC State: Powered by a running game that totaled a season-high 225 yards, the Wolfpack remained unbeaten by jumping out to a 28-3 lead before holding off a late Boston College rally. NC State is 5-0 for the first time since 2002 when Phillip Rivers was the quarterback and the Wolfpack started 9-0.

Western Michigan: Sparked by a defense that produced three sacks, eight tackles for losses and a critical turnover, WMU held on to edge Eastern Michigan on homecoming. The Broncos have won four in a row after starting the season 0-2.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish continue to move up in the polls – now No. 5 in the country – after running away from Virginia Tech in the second half on the road. Notre Dame outscored the Hokies 28-7 the final 30 minutes and is now right in the center of college football playoff discussions.

Colgate: The nationally ranked Raiders cruised to 5-0 overall behind a defense that has not allowed a touchdown in four consecutive games. James Holland Jr. had a pair of touchdowns and QB Grant Breneman threw for a season-high 254 yards to power the Colgate offense.

Clemson: Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Adam Choice each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark on only 10 carries to power a Tigers offense that rolled up 471 yards on the ground – the most under head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers averaged 11.8 yards per carry, breaking the previous school record of 11.2 set in 1903 against Georgia Tech.

Penn: The Quakers coughed up a 24-0 lead, then put together a clinching 8-play, 87-yard drive in the dying minutes to come-from-behind and knock off Sacred Heart on the road. Karekin Brooks rushed for 191 yards on 28 carries to pace a ground game that churned out 364 yards.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 6

Notre Dame defense shuts down Stanford as undefeated Fighting Irish highlight Week 5 Chapter Update


ND MC Week 5Undefeated Notre Dame has already handed out a pair of losses to teams ranked inside the top 20 in the country.

The No. 6 ranked Fighting Irish used a rock-solid defensive effort to hand previous No. 7 ranked Stanford its first loss of the season. Notre Dame’s defense limited the Cardinal to 229 total yards on 51 snaps including nine quarterback sacks and five tackles for a loss.

Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tilley ties school record for sacks to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week

Notre Dame’s offense was extremely balanced with QB Ian Book and RB Dexter Williams each having monster games. Book threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns and Williams, in his first start of the season, ripped off 161 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown.

On opening weekend of the season Notre Dame knocked off Michigan and now has a win over Stanford. Those are the only losses for those two teams and each squad remains ranked inside the Top 20 nationally.

Learn more about Notre Dame Chapter Leader Christopher Schilling in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy series.

Clemson: It took overcoming some serious adversity at the quarterback position and two fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Tigers to stay undefeated against previously unbeaten Syracuse at home. Travis Etienne rushed for more than 200 yards and scored the winning touchdown inside the final minute to nudge the Tigers past the Orange. Syracuse, which led by two scores with 10 minutes to play, was in search of its second win in a row over Clemson. The Tigers converted a clutch fourth-and-6 during the winning drive to set the table for the final-minute victory.

Stony Brook: In a match-up of Top 20 ranked FCS squads, the Seawolves found themselves down 21-0 to Villanova late in the second quarter before rattling off 29 unanswered points to hold on for a narrow 2-point home victory. Part of the credit goes to the SBU defense that was shredded early but rallied to post 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks. DE John Haggart tied for the team lead in tackles with eight and had three of the 10 TFL’s and two of the sacks.

Saint Francis: The Red Flash scored on all six of its first-half possessions and finished with more than 400 yards of offense in a blowout victory over NCAA Division II West Virginia Wesleyan. Nick Rinella returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown to break the 40-year-old school record of 70 yards set in 1978.

Florida State: Even the Seminoles were surprised the way they pulled out a road victory at Louisville. It took some shaky play calling late in the game by the Cardinals for FSU to have a shot. But they capitalized on it when QB Deondre Francois hit Nyqwan Murray with a 58-yard strike with 1:13 to play that capped a 14-point fourth-quarter rally.

Davidson: The Wildcats won for the first time in 17 tries at Valparaiso with a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Davidson trailed by a point (35-34) late in the fourth quarter before embarking on a 9-play, 75-yard march capped by a James Story 1-yard TD run inside the final minute to win it. .

NC State: For the third straight year the Wolfpack won their ACC opener and moved to 4-0 overall with the home win against Virginia. NC State is now ranked in the Top 25 for the first time this season. Against the Cavaliers, QB Ryan Finley threw for three scores, freshman RB Ricky Person went over 100 yards and DT Larrell Murchison had three sacks.

Colgate: The Raiders are 4-0 and scoring on the Colgate defense is getting more difficult with each passing week. The Raiders posted their second shutout in a row against William and Mary and has gone 12 quarters without allowing a touchdown. Holy Cross was the last team to score a touchdown on Colgate and that TD came midway through the fourth quarter in the season opener – a streak of nearly 187 minutes without surrendering a touchdown.

Western Michigan: For the fourth straight year the Broncos opened MAC play with a come-from-behind victory on the road at Miami. QB Jon Wassink, who threw for 439 yards and five touchdowns, scored on a 2-yard plunge with 2:53 to play to win it. Freshman WR Jayden Reed tied a school record with four TD catches on seven grabs and career-high 137 yards. WMU has won three straight after starting 0-2 with losses to Syracuse and Michigan, a couple of 4-1 squads.

Princeton: The Tigers rushed for 360 yards and scored 25 points in a 6:32 stretch midway through the game to stay unbeaten and claim their Ivy League opener. The No. 23 ranked Tigers used 311 total yards from QB John Lovett to subdue Columbia, whose rush defense had been strong the first two weeks, by five touchdowns on National TV.