Georgia Tech Touchdown Pledge Drive Saturday against Pittsburgh


GA TECH TDPD 2017 GRAPHICThe Georgia Tech Chapter of Uplifting Athletes is counting on the Yellow Jackets offense to put a few touchdowns on the board Saturday, September 23 for its 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive to support the rare disease community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team off the field in their efforts to use the power of sport for social good.

The leadership team of the Georgia Tech Chapter and all the members of the 2017 Yellow Jackets squad is asking fans to support their efforts when Georgia Tech welcomes Pittsburgh to Bobby Dodd Stadium by making a pledge through the Georgia Tech Chapter online Touchdown Pledge Drive site.

Fans can simply make a pledge for each touchdown the Yellow Jackets score that day and they can follow along to see the impact they are helping the players make.

The proceeds from our 2017 Touchdown Pledge Drive support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of the Georgia Tech Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Georgia Tech started doing its part to serve the rare disease community starting in 2015 when former Yellow Jackets offensive lineman Trey Klock started the chapter. His inspiration was formed after two members of his family were affected by rare diseases. His personal story served as an inspiration for his teammates to support his efforts.

Support the Georgia Tech Chapter and its efforts to make a difference in the rare disease community by signing up for its Touchdown Pledge Drive today!

Weekly Update: Six teams get out of the gate strong with 2-0 starts


WEEK 2 UPDATE GRAPHICCongratulations to Penn State, Maryland, Clemson, Illinois, Washington and Saint Francis for starting the 2017 season 2-0.

Defending Big Ten Champion Penn State used a fast start and solid defense to hold off in-state rival Pittsburgh at Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions defense, led by 12 tackles from safety Marcus Allen, came up with three turnovers, had five sacks and nine tackles for a loss in holding the Panthers to one touchdown.

Maryland’s offense has scored 50 or more points in both its victories over previously ranked Texas (51 points) and in the their home opener against Towson (63).

The Terps piled up nearly 400 yards on the ground led by Ty Johnson’s 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only five carries.

Meet University of Maryland Chapter President and kicker Adam Greene in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Defending National Champion Clemson used a spectacular defensive effort to subdue Auburn at Death Valley. The Tigers’ defense limited Auburn to six points and 117 total yards on 66 plays. The Clemson defense also registered 11 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.

Illinois running back Mike Epstein rushed for 111 yards and the Fighting Illini defense held Western Kentucky to fewer than 250 yards to grab a 13-point victory and improve to 2-0.

Led by 259 yards and a couple touchdowns from QB Jake Browning, the Washington Huskies put up more than 500 yards of total offense in a cruise-control victory over Montana.

Saint Francis QB Bear Fenimore threw for nearly 300 yards and RB Jymere Jordan-Toney added 105 yards on the ground with a score to power the Red Flash to 2-0 with a convincing home victory.

Stony Brook used a pair of touchdowns 2 minutes apart in the fourth quarter to pull away from Rhode Island to notch its first victory of the season.

Led by an impressive outing from Uplifting Athletes Player of the Week Ryan Finley, NC State defeated Marshall in their home opener at Carter-Finley Stadium.

After a gut-wrenching loss to Tennessee in its opener, Georgia Tech rebounded to claim its first victory of the year over Jacksonville State on the strength of a 20-point third quarter and a strong Yellow Jackets defense.

Fordham defensive back Lawrence Menyah returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown with 1:29 to play to propel the Rams to a come-from-behind victory. Fordham scored the final 17 points after falling behind 31-21 midway through the third quarter.

 

 

Weekly Chapter Update: ’16 Rare Disease Champion Jake Olson plays for USC Trojans


JAKE UA PHOTOUSC long snapper Jake Olson has fulfilled his dream of playing in a college football game.

The 2016 winner of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award is now officially a USC Trojans football letterman after snapping for the final extra point in the Trojans’ season opening victory over Western Michigan.

“I just loved being out there,” Olson said. “It was an awesome feeling, something that I’ll remember forever.

Olson is legally blind after losing sight in both eyes to the rare disease retinoblastoma. He lost his left eye to the disease at 10 months.  The night before his final surgery in 2009 to take the sight in his right eye away, then USC head coach Pete Carroll invited Olson to meet the team.

“To take a situation that ugly, and then to fast-forward eight years and to have that same kid be able to snap on the football field with the team that really got him through that time, is just beautiful. It’s emotional. Incredible,” Olson said.

Carroll, the Seahawks head coach, was tipped off this might happen so he was watching on TV Saturday night when Olson entered the game.

“I was so excited to see it I couldn’t stop crying. It was thrilling,” Carroll told The Seattle Times. “That was an incredible moment. I’m so glad that coach (Clay) Helton figured out a way to create an opportunity for Jake to show what he could do. This is just an extraordinary young man.”

He was invited to join the Trojans squad after he enrolled at USC in the fall of 2015 and received an NCAA waiver to practice with the team. He snapped in the spring games, but it wasn’t until last Saturday that Olson saw the field in a regular season game.

Meet Stony Brook Chapter President and tight end P.J. Edwards in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

 In what is clearly the biggest win for the Maryland program this decade – and perhaps even longer.  The Terrapins marched into Austin a nearly three-touchdown underdog to No. 23 Texas and marched away with a 51-41 victory.

It was the first victory for Maryland against a ranked opponent on the road in nine years.

Maryland led 27-7 at one point in the second half, then held off a Longhorns rally that included Texas touchdowns on a blocked field goal return, a kickoff return and interception return for a score.

Running back Ty Johnson was a beast for the Terrapins, rushing for 132 yards, returning a kickoff 60 yards and scoring one touchdown. Wide receiver D.J. Moore had a big afternoon as well with seven catches for 133 yards and a score.

Illinois used a late touchdown from Mike Epstein and a blocked field goal as time expired to rally past Ball State at home.

Defending National Champion Clemson rolled up 665 yards of total offense on its way to a comfortable victory over Kent State at Death Valley. New starting QB threw for 236 yards on only 22 attempts.

Penn State, the defending Big Ten Champion, saw its dynamic trio of QB Trace McSorley, RB Saquon Barkley and TE Mike Gesicki each account for two touchdowns in blanking Akron. Barkley, a Heisman Trophy candidate, accounted for 256 total yards on 18 touches.

Notre Dame running backs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams, a 2017 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award finalist, combined for 285 yards and three touchdowns as the Fighting Irish subdued Temple. Adams earned Uplifting Athletes Player of the Week honors for his stellar effort.

Nebraska was embroiled in a nip-and-tuck affair with underrated Arkansas State all the way before holding on for a seven-point victory over the Red Wolves. Husker RB Trey Bryant rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.

Washington, Syracuse and Northwestern all won their openers in different fashion. Northwestern needed a pair of 1-yard TD plunges by QB Clayton Thorson to rally past Nevada. Syracuse put up big numbers offensively in rolling Central Connecticut State and defending Pac-12 Champion Washington subdued Rutgers by outscoring the Scarlet Knights 20-7 in the second half.

Georgia Tech dropped a heartbreaker in double OT to Tennessee Monday night. And Stony Brook came up with a strong effort against nationally ranked USF on the road in Tampa before a late flurry allowed the Bulls to edge the Seawolves.

NEW CHAPTER SCOREBOARD

It’s Touchdown Pledge Drive Season again!


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For the fourth consecutive year, our chapters will shine a spotlight on rare diseases by holding a Touchdown Pledge Drive (TDPD) game.

This year, the entire nationwide chapter network will play their TDPD game during the month of September.

The Touchdown Pledge Drive game is an excellent chance for each chapter to expose the rare disease cause to their college football fan base and bring another level of awareness and support to the rare disease community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team off the field in their efforts to use the power of sport for social good.

Please visit the Uplifting Athletes Touchdown Pledge Drive hub and choose your favorite team to support. Simply make a pledge towards the number of touchdowns your team scores that day and follow along to see the impact you are helping the players make.

Every dollar helps Uplifting Athletes and its chapter network tackle rare diseases.

The proceeds from Touchdown Pledge Drive 2017 support Uplifting Athletes and its commitment to leadership development, patient focused programs, rare disease awareness and rare disease research.

 

Annual Leadership Development Conference arms student-athlete chapter leaders with tools for success


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As Uplifting Athletes continues to evolve and expand its footprint as a champion of the rare disease community, our nationwide chapter network led by current college football student-athletes continues to be the rock of our foundation.

Educating and training these leaders on the mission and vision of Uplifting Athletes is critical to being able to use the power of sport to inspire the rare disease community with hope. We want to enable these student-athletes to have the biggest impact they can.

This past weekend in Philadelphia, 23 chapter leaders from 14 universities came together for Leadership Development Conference 2017.

Led by the Uplifting Athletes staff, the conference was three days of education, training and relationship building all centered around making a greater impact on the rare disease community.

“I wasn’t aware of how much Uplifting Athletes has done and is doing. The platform we have is such an opportunity,” said Christian Groomes, a chapter leader from Clemson. “It was cool to see all the opportunities we have to raise money and support rare diseases. I think we are going to be a hit at Clemson with some of the ideas we have now.”

Chapter leaders from Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Syracuse, Illinois, Florida State, Maryland, Stony Brook, Penn and Saint Francis committed a weekend of their short offseason to attend the conference.

Included in the workshop sessions on Saturday and Sunday were an overview of Uplifting Athletes, a team building exercise, Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive event planning, transferable life skills development, communication and social media training, and an introduction to rare disease patient engagement through Uplifting Experiences.

There was also a breakout session hosted by Kristen Angell from the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).

In between work sessions, the student-athletes were able to experience some of the unique sights of Philadelphia. There was a cheesesteak lunch in Logan Park followed by a trip to the Art Museum and the “Rocky Steps” for team pictures. Lunch on Sunday was outside the famous City Hall, and the players were free Saturday evening to explore the city and spend some off time together.

“It was a great experience overall. I learned a lot and it was great to get to know the guys from other schools,” Penn State Chapter leader Jason Cabinda said. “There was a lot I can take back to the rest of the guys and share that will help us going forward.”

 

Uplifting Athletes set to host 24 student-athlete chapter leaders for 2017 Leadership Development Conference


LDC 17 GRAPHICFor our eighth consecutive year, we will gather college football student-athletes that are current or future chapter leaders together for three days of education and training during the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference.

This year 24 current football players from 13 universities across the country will travel to Philadelphia on Friday, May 19 to kick off a busy weekend of engaging work sessions, networking and relationship building.

Chapter leaders from Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Syracuse, Illinois, Florida State, Maryland, Stony Brook, Penn and Saint Francis will start the 2017 conference with a team meal Friday night prior to a full Saturday agenda.

The weekend agenda is driven by the Uplifting Athletes staff, but will also feature a breakout session focused on the rare disease community hosted by Kristen Angell from the National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD).

Included in the workshop sessions on Saturday and Sunday are an overview of Uplifting Athletes, a team building exercise, Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive event planning, transferable life skills development, communication and social media training, and an introduction to rare disease patient engagement through Uplifting Experiences.

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.

 

Clemson Tigers highlight Uplifting Athletes Chapter bowl season by winning National Championship


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Clemson became the second university with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter to win the college football National Championship with its dramatic victory over defending champion Alabama.

Florida State won the final BCS National Championship in 2014 to cap a perfect 14-0 season.

Two of the last four champions of college football, Clemson and Florida State, are part of Uplifting Athletes student-athlete chapter network.

The Clemson Chapter held its inaugural Lift For Life event this past summer and also held a Touchdown Pledge Drive for the Syracuse game this season in support of the rare disease community.

Congratulations to the Tigers on winning their first National Championship since 1981 and thanks to Clemson Chapter President and punter Andy Teasdall for all his hard work in making 2016 a success on and off the field.

Big Ten champion Penn State and Pac-12 winner Washington each finished its respective seasons with losses, but that won’t diminish the huge strides forward each program made nationally.

The Huskies fell to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal and the Nittany Lions were part of a thrilling and record setting Rose Bowl game won by USC.

Clemson climbed the highest mountain in college football by winning it all, but five other programs with an Uplifting Athletes Chapter ended the 2016 campaign on a high note with a victory in their respective bowl game.

Florida State edged Michigan in the Orange Bowl, Northwestern held off Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl, Georgia Tech nearly doubled up Kentucky in the Taxslayer Bowl, NC State put up 42 points on Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl and Baylor snapped its losing streak by rolling Boise State in the Cactus Bowl.

Maryland, Nebraska and South Carolina were also part of the 2016 bowl slate but came up just short.