44 NFL prospects join 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign for NFL Pro Day workouts


For the fifth consecutive year, Uplifting Athletes is empowering NFL prospects with the opportunity to use their NFL Pro Day as a platform to give back by raising funds and awareness in support of the Rare Disease Community.

The Reps For Rare Diseases Campaign is one of the first opportunities for these athletes to create an impact using their platform as professional athletes. Uplifting Athletes is excited to work with these outstanding individuals to help them give back during this very pivotal time of their lives.

This year Uplifting Athletes currently has 44 players who chose to participate in Reps For Rare Diseases 2019 as part of their NFL Pro Day workout.

“We would like to thank all the athletes participating in Reps For Rare Diseases and wish all of our participants the best of luck in the pursuit of their professional careers,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact and NFL veteran Brett Brackett said. “We believe this is a special group that stands out for the right reasons amongst their peers. Any NFL team would be lucky to have one of these men representing their organization.”

The Uplifting Athletes 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases Pro Day Team is comprised from 18 different college football programs.

Clayton Thorson, Flynn Nagel, Jake Collins, Blake Hance, Jordan Thompson, Jared McGee and Tommy Doles all hail from Northwestern. Representing NC State are A.J. Cole, Terronne Prescod, Steph Louis and Reggie Gallaspy, Jr. From Penn State its Koa Farmer, Nick Scott, Kyle Vasey and Jake Cooper. And Tyler Newsome, Miles Boykin, Julian Love, Sam Mustipher, Nic Weishar and Justin Yoon from Notre Dame.

The quartet from Princeton includes John Lovett, Cody Smith, Steve Carlson and Charlie Volker. Maryland has Brendan Moore and Ty Johnson. Representing Georgia Tech are Kyle Cerge-Henderson and Andrew Marshall, while Eric Dungey and Kielan Whitner come from Syracuse.

Alec Eberle and Derrick Kelly II come out of Florida State and Antonio Jackson and Lawrence Menyah played for Fordham.

Other schools representatives include: Nick Allegretti from Illinois, Clemson’s Milan Richard, Chris Myarick of Temple, Jon Reschke from Michigan State, Nick Giorgio of Springfield, Kansas’ Mavin Saunders, Jamauri Bogan of Western Michigan and Craig Reynolds from Kutztown.

Fans and supporters can become teammates of any one of our NFL Pro Day participants this year and help Uplifting Athletes Tackle Rare Diseases by simply making a pledge for every bench press repetition or each vertical/broad jump inch the player achieves.

Visit the Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases 2019 team landing page, choose your favorite player and make your pledge today.

The proceeds from Reps For Rare Diseases support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The first Reps For Rare Diseases campaign was run by former Penn State and current Detroit Lions tight end Jesse James.

Since James launched this program in 2015 other current NFL veterans such as Justin Watson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jason Cabinda (Oakland Raiders), Justin Jackson (San Diego Chargers), Mike McGlinchey (San Francisco 49ers), Mike Gesicki (Miami Dolphins), Josh Adams (Philadelphia Eagles), Malik Turner (Seattle Seahawks), Grant Haley (New York Giants), Anthony Zettel (Cleveland Browns), Andrew Billings (Cincinnati Bengals), Garrett Sickels (Los Angeles Rams), and Chad Kanoff (Arizona Cardinals) have used Reps For Rare Diseases as a platform to support the Rare Disease Community.

“Uplifting Athletes prides itself in helping athletes realize their potential to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community. Our Reps for Rare Diseases campaign is another unique example of this,” Brackett said.

Uplifting Athletes’ 10th Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta covered a lot of ground


The essential core of the Uplifting Leaders program is the college football student-athletes that steer our chapters at universities across the country.

This past weekend more than 40 individual leaders from 20 college football programs traveled to Atlanta for the 10th annual Leadership Development Conference.

The three-day conference was hosted by Uplifting Athletes, and run by Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett, a former Penn State Chapter President who attended the inaugural conference in 2010.

“Uplifting Athletes is grateful to be engaged with such enthusiastic student-athletes motivated to leverage their platform for good,” Brackett said. “I am excited to see how this group of student-athletes takes the knowledge gained from the conference and uses the power of sport to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.”

Following a meet-and-greet team dinner Friday night, the conference kicked off Saturday morning with a full day of programming that was driven by Uplifting Athletes four program pillars – Uplifting Leaders, Uplifting Experiences, Rare Disease Awareness and Rare Disease Research.

Morning sessions covering the four programs were followed by a panel of former college football student-athletes sharing their stories and advice about making the transition from student-athlete to the professional world.

The lively and open discussion was spearheaded by panelists Pat Boyle, Drew Butler, Stephon Morris and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong.

“The conference was a great experience for me to learn more how to utilize my platform to impact the Rare Disease Community,” Penn State Chapter leader Sean Clifford said. “I am glad I had the opportunity to represent Penn State Football and grow as a leader.”

To kick off the afternoon, Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long shared his story about being a rare disease patient and how that shaped him to become a leader, advocate and difference maker for the Rare Disease Community.

Long’s hour-long presentation set the table for a tour of the College Football Hall of Fame and an Uplifting Experience where nearly 20 rare disease patients, caregivers and family members teamed up with the student-athletes.

“For me Leadership Development Conference 2019 was all about the people. You are surrounded with other college football players from all around the country and get to learn about their own connections with rare diseases and how much it affects us all,” Northwestern Chapter leader Joe Spivak said. “And then to be paired with a family going through the fight at the College Football Hall of Fame puts everything in that much more perspective.

“Those interactions, along with all the work with everyone from the Uplifting Athletes staff, showed me the true difference we can make in this community through the power of the sport we are all so blessed to be a part of.”

Gabe Low, a 17-year-old Hawaii native who was born with a rare genetic disorder, took center stage on Sunday to share his story about why he did the 3,500-mile Ride For Rare Diseases and talked about the impact of awareness created by using his platform.

The conference also featured sessions on Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive and next steps moving forward as these leaders prepare for 2019.

“If their attentiveness and commitment at the conference is any sign of what’s to come from this group of leaders … I believe 2019 could be something special,” Brackett said. “Their level of engagement leads me to believe we will see a high level of awareness and fundraising for the Rare Disease Community through Uplifting Athletes chapters across the country.”

Among the 20 schools that were represented in Atlanta, two of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Kent State and New Mexico had student-athletes attending for the first time.

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

A special thank you to all our supporters who made this conference possible. With your help, these young men are making a difference in the Rare Disease Community.

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 40 current football players from 20 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 20 schools that will be represented in Atlanta, four of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Kent State and New Mexico 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

 

Baylor pulls off upset of Oklahoma State highlights Week 9 Chapter Upate


BAYLOR GRAPHICIn his second season in charge at Baylor, head coach Matt Ruhle declared the goal for this season was to become bowl eligible. The Bears were 1-11 a year ago and are in the midst of a massive program re-build.

What might be considered normal preseason coach speak was exactly what Ruhle believed was possible for this team. And with an impressive home upset of Oklahoma State in come-from-behind fashion, Baylor is one victory away from achieving that goal.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer, who didn’t start but entered the game in the second half on the heels of spending time in concussion protocol during the week, led the Bears on three touchdown drives in the final 16 minutes.

Brewer completed only four passes, but his final one to Denzel Mims covered six yards for a touchdown with 7 seconds remaining to give Baylor a dramatic come-from-behind victory. It was Mims’ only catch of the day after sitting out almost the entire game with an illness.

Nick Rinella goes old-school and does a little bit of everything for Saint Francis to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Princeton: The No. 17 ranked Tigers moved to 8-0 for the first time since 1995 and took over sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with an emotional and dramatic come-from-behind victory over No. 20 Dartmouth in a battle of two previously unbeaten squads. In a game dominated by defense, Princeton QB John Lovett powered over from the 5-yard-line with 6:33 to play for the winning touchdown. Dartmouth held a 9-7 lead for nearly two quarters after notching a safety in very early stages of the second quarter.

Colgate: The No. 11 ranked Raiders wrapped up their 10th Patriot League title and third in the last four years with perhaps its best showing of the season, a 41-0 blanking of Fordham. Colgate scored 14 points in the first quarter and led 31-0 at halftime. The Raiders not only rushed for a season-high 364 yards – best total since 2012 – but the Colgate defense set a program record by limiting the Rams to minus-50 yards rushing. The shutout was No. 5 on the season for the Raiders, who have not surrendered a touchdown since the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter in the season opener against Holy Cross. That’s a streak of nearly 430 minutes.

Illinois: Led by a running game that gashed Minnesota for a 430 yards – the most since 2010 – the Orange and Blue improved to 4-5 overall this season. Junior running back Reggie Corbin racked up a career-high 213 yards on just 13 carries (16.4 yards per carry). Corbin found a hole on the Illini’s second offensive snap of the game and outraced the Gopher defense for a 72-yard touchdown to put Illinois in front for good. Corbin also added a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter, giving him four runs of 70-plus yards on the year.

Syracuse: Playing as a ranked team for the first time since 2001, the Orange pounded Wake Forest by running the ball 60 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. A little sluggish early, Syracuse fell behind 10-0 early, but responded with 28 unanswered points to seize control. The road victory was the first in the ACC for the Orange since 2016.

Saint Francis: Using a defense that notched four turnovers, three sacks and nine tackles for a loss, the Red Flash won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Junior safety Nick Rinella led Saint Francis in rushing yards, tackles and kick returns yards. He also iced this game with a late fourth-quarter interception in the end zone.

Catch up with Saint Francis Chapter leader Nick Rinella in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Lehigh: Sophomore wide receiver Jorge Portorreal had a career-high nine catches for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace a Mountain Hawks offense that piled up 550 yards and scored 45 points to end Lehigh’s seven-game losing streak.

Clemson: The Tigers offense exploded for a season-high 77 points to move to 9-0 and remain square in the middle of the College Football Playoff picture as the consensus No. 2 ranked team in the country. The run game powered the Tigers offensively, accounting for 492 of the 661 total yards. Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Tavien Feaster each eclipsed 100 yards rushing and combined for four touchdowns. It was the second time this season a trio of Clemson running backs went over the 100-yard mark in the same game.

Penn: For the second game in a row the Quakers defense allowed only a single touchdown, and the offense scored 17 second-half points to nudge past Cornell. The defense for the 6-2 Quakers limited Cornell to 317 total yards while recording eight tackles for a loss and three sacks.

NC State: Freshman running back Ricky Person, Jr. scored three touchdowns and kicker Christopher Dunn kicked four field goals as the duo combined for 35 points in a victory over Florida State that halted the Wolfpack’s two-game slide. NC State is bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive season. Person’s three touchdowns is the most for a freshman since 2013.

Notre Dame: Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book overcame a sluggish first half to rally undefeated Notre Dame on the road against Northwestern. Book was 15 of 19 for 236 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half. He finished with 399 total yards for the Irish (343 passing, 56 rushing) including a 23-yard touchdown run to ice the victory with 2:45 to play.

WEEK 10 SCOREBOARD

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.