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

 

 

Notre Dame sends 12-0 resume to College Football Playoff committee highlights Week 13 Chapter Update


NOTRE DAME LEADNotre Dame submitted its resume to the College Football Playoff committee unblemished after rallying from a season-high 10-point deficit on the road to edge USC and finish the regular season 12-0.

This marks the third time since 1998 Notre Dame has finished the regular season 12-0. The Fighting Irish, an NCAA Independent university, is looking to be part of the College Football Playoff for the first time.

USC raced to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter before Notre Dame reeled off 24 unanswered points, capped by quarterback Ian Book’s 51-yard catch-and-run screen pass to running back Tony Jones Jr with 3:09 to play to make it a two-score game. It was Jones’ first career touchdown.

Book threw for a career-high 352 yards to rally the Irish. The Notre Dame defense stood tall in the second half, surrendering only a late fourth-quarter touchdown and limiting the Trojans to 154 total yards.

Baylor: One year after the Bears went 1-11 under new head coach Matt Ruhle, Baylor became bowl eligible by rallying to upend Texas Tech in Arlington at AT&T Stadium. Baylor outscored Texas Tech 21-7 in the second half to erase a three-point halftime deficit. Quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns and added a 1-yard rushing touchdown on the first possession of the second half to put the Bears ahead for good.

NC State: The Wolfpack used a school-record tying five touchdowns from senior running back Reggie Gallaspy Jr. to post a come-from-behind overtime victory over rival North Carolina. It was the third time in a row NC State beat the Tar Heels. Gallaspy, who scored the tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and punched it over from 1-yard out in overtime to win it, also had a career-high 129 yards on the ground.

NC State running back Reggie Gallaspy Jr. tied a school record with five touchdowns and had a career-high 129 yards to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor.

Penn State: On senior day at Beaver Stadium it was the Nittany Lions’ young defense that stood out in a 35-point victory over the Terrapins. Penn State’s defense limited Maryland to a field goal and less than 100 yards rushing. The Nittany Lions also recorded 15 tackles behind the line of scrimmage – the most by Penn State in a Big Ten game since 2007. Sophomore defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos had a career-high 3.5 tackles for a loss giving him 20 on the season, becoming the 12th PSU player to reach 20 TFL’s but the first since 2008 (Aaron Maybin). Gross-Matos has recorded at least 1 TFL in 8 straight games.

Northwestern: The Wildcats completed a perfect regular season against Big Ten West foes by edging Illinois on Senior Day at Ryan Field. Northwestern will play Ohio State Saturday in the Big Ten Championship game. The win over the Illini gave the ‘Cats their 11th-straight victory versus West Division foes and Northwestern earned its 15th win in its last 16 Big Ten games, matching the best 16-game conference stretch in program history.

Syracuse: Quarterback Eric Dungey accounted for nearly 400 yards of total offense and was responsible for a career-high six touchdowns in the road victory at Boston College. The win gave the Orange nine regular-season victories, program’s most since the 2001 season. This was the eighth time Syracuse has scored 40 or more points this season. Those six touchdowns, three rushing and three passing, give Dungey 32 for the season, surpassing the school-record of 30 set by Donovan McNabb in 1998.

Clemson: The Tigers, set to play Pitt in the ACC Championship game, posted the highest total yards ever against South Carolina with 744 to finish the regular season 12-0. Clemson also went for more than 300 yards rushing and passing for the first time ever against the Gamecocks. The Tigers also set a record with three drives of 95 or more yards, the first time that’s ever happened in program history.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 13

 

 

 

Syracuse ranked inside the Top 25 for the first time 17 years highlights Week 9 Chapter Update


SYRACUSE GRAPHICOn the heels of beating fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter NC State for the first time in five outings, the Syracuse Orange are nationally ranked for the first time in 17 years.

Syracuse, last ranked in the Top 25 at the end of the 2001 season when the Orange went 10-3 overall, enter the 2018 polls this week at No. 22 in the AP Poll and No. 24 in the Coaches Poll.

The Orange improved to 6-2 overall with a wild 10-point victory at home over the Wolfpack that saw the teams combine for more than 1,100 yards and 92 points. The victory also makes Syracuse bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.

NC State quarterback Ryan Finley threw for 473 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.

This was the second game of the year where Syracuse, who improved to 5-0 at home, faced a team in the Top 25. The Orange lost in the final minute at Clemson and now own a win over NC State.

There are still two more teams on Syracuse’s schedule, Notre Dame and Boston College, that are currently ranked in the Top 25.

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey surpasses Donovan McNabb to become No. 1 for total yards in school history and earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Colgate: The beat goes on for the Raiders defense, as they posted their second shutout in a row and fourth in five games for the No. 11 ranked FCS team in the country. Colgate is 7-0 after blanking Georgetown and has surrendered only a pair of field goals in its last six games. The last time the Raiders surrendered a touchdown was at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter on September 1 in the season opening 24-17 win over Holy Cross. The Hoyas managed only 36 total yards of offense against this record setting Raiders defense.

Catch up with Davidson College chapter leader Kevin Stipe in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: Thanks to a defense that forced three fumbles and held previously No. 20 ranked Wisconsin to seven second-half points, the Wildcats took over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten West. For the first time since 2000, Northwestern is 5-1 in the Big Ten and the Wildcats have now won 12 of their last 13 conference games and posted victory No. 2 over a ranked opponent this season.

Saint Francis: Quarterback Bear Fenimore threw a pair of touchdown passes for the seventh consecutive game to bring the Red Flash modest two-game losing streak to an end. Wide receiver Kam Lewis hauled in six pass for 108 yards to record the 13th 100-plus receiving yards game of his career. Saint Francis is 3-5 overall, but all five of its losses are by a touchdown or less.

Penn State: It took a gutsy effort by senior quarterback Trace McSorley, two late big stops by the Nittany Lions defense and a trio of 40-plus yard field goals from true freshman kicker Jake Pinegar for Penn State to edge former No. 18 Iowa at Beaver Stadium. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half and also came up with a huge interception by Nick Scott late in the fourth quarter with the Hawkeyes inside the Penn State 5-yard line.

Princeton: The Tigers stayed unbeaten and closed out October with its second record setting 66-point outburst of the month. Princeton is now ranked No. 14 in the latest NCAA FCS rankings and is 7-0 for the first time since 1995. The 66-point margin of victory is the largest for the Tigers in an official Ivy League game – the league formed in 1956 – and the most Princeton has ever scored against Cornell in a series that dates back to 1861. The Tigers had 11 players register at least one carry to rush for a combined season-high 358 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

Notre Dame: Square in the middle of the College Football Playoff hunt, the undefeated Fighting Irish used a strong running game and rock-solid execution in the red zone (6-for-6) to subdue the Naval Academy in San Diego. Running back Dexter Williams piled up 142 yards on 23 carries with a trio of first-half touchdowns covering 12, 9 and 2 yards.

Penn: In the worst playing conditions imaginable at Brown Stadium, the Quakers used a pounding running game to edge the Bears. The driving rain and howling wind turned the natural grass surface into a mud pit. That didn’t bother running back Karekin Brooks, who carried a staggering 34 times for 246 yards. Penn finished the game with 60 rushes for 332 yards, compared to only 195 total yards for Brown.

Maryland: Terrapins kick returner and running back Javon Leake became the first Maryland player to score four touchdowns in a game since D.J. Adams in the 2010 Military Bowl. Leake, a sophomore, finished with 140 yards rushing, including scores of 64, 27 and 43 yards on five carries. He also had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He had 237 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns on six total touches and averaged a whopping 39.5 yards per touch for the 5-3 Terrapins.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 9 v'18

 

 

Western Michigan rallies on the road to win fifth in a row highlights Week 7 Chapter Update


Weekly LeadWestern Michigan scored five second-half touchdowns to storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit on the road to overtake Bowling Green for the its fifth victory in a row after starting 0-2.

The Broncos also improved to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference with the win.

Running backs Jamauri Bogan and LaVante Bellamy, along with a defense that allowed some yards but produced four turnovers, provided the ammunition for the Broncos rally.

Bogan and Bellamy teamed up to rush for 220 of Western Michigan’s 283 yards on the ground. Bellamy chewed up the most yards and Bogan was the finisher for this unstoppable 1-2 punch.

Bellamy had 111 of his season-high 145 yards in the second half when the Broncos put up 199 of their 283 yards on the ground.

Bogan, who finished with 75 yards on 15 carries, scored four of WMU’s six touchdowns for the third four-touchdown performance of his career. The last time he rushed for four TDs in a game was in 2015 when Bogan was named MVP of the Bahamas Bowl.

Western Michigan’s defense forced a pair of fumbles and had two interceptions. Both Bowling Green fumbles that the Broncos recovered were converted into touchdowns.

Catch up with Syracuse Chapter leader Sam Heckel in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: Win No. 1 for the Wildcats at home in 2018 took a monumental comeback, as Northwestern had to rally from 10 points down with 5:41 remaining to force overtime at Ryan Field. QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 99-yard drive in the final 2 minutes to force OT and sophomore kicker Drew Luckenbaugh knocked home a 37-yard FG in extra time to win for the Wildcats. This was the second year in a row Northwestern has defeated Nebraska in overtime.

Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel has best receiving day for a Wildcat since 1980 to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Stony Brook: Sparked by a defense that scored two touchdowns on a 35-yard interception return by TJ Morrison and Shayne Lawless’ 54-yard fumble return, the Seawolves cruised to a road victory at New Hampshire. Sophomore DB Augie Contressa had a career-high 11 tackles, two sacks and forced the fumble that led to Lawless’ return for a touchdown. The two defensive touchdowns staked Stony Brook to a 21-0 lead before the second quarter was 2 minutes old.

Maryland: Terrapins QB Kasim Hill tossed three touchdown passes and RB Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards to power the offense in an easy win over struggling Rutgers. It was the Maryland defense, though, that did the most damage by coming up with five interceptions and allowing only two completions in 17 attempts. The five picks was the most for the Terrapins since they recorded seven interceptions against Duke in 1998.

Colgate: The No. 17 ranked Raiders are undefeated and have a defense that literally can’t be scored on lately. The victory over central New York rival Cornell 31-0 marked the first shutout for Colgate in the series since 1919, and it came in the 100th meeting between the two squads. The Raiders are 6-0 and became the first Patriot League team to post three shutouts in one season. This was also the fifth consecutive game where Colgate’s defense has not surrendered a touchdown. Tyler Castillo capped the day by returning his 11th career interception 58 yards for the final Raiders touchdown.

Fordham: The Rams went on the road and put up a season-high 43 points and 488 yards to subdue Lehigh and claim victory No. 1 for new head coach Joe Conlin. Back-up running back Tyriek Hopkins and Naim Mayfield took over for the injured starters and combined for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

Penn: The Quakers struggled in the red zone, coming away with only 13 points after having first-and-goal five times against Columbia. But thanks to Penn’s defense limiting the Lions to fewer than 300 yards and Ryan Glover’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:55 to play, the Quakers improved to 4-1 overall.

Notre Dame: Trailing visiting Pitt by eight points at halftime, the undefeated Fighting Irish avoided the upset bid by the Panthers when QB Ian Book hooked up with Miles Boykin from 35 yards out with 5:43 to play that capped a 5-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

Princeton: Forced to have Kevin Davidson make his first start at quarterback for the injured John Lovett, the junior had no problems guiding a well-oiled offensive machine. All-Ivy League wideouts Stephen Carlson and Jesper Horsted combined to catch 21 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Brown. The Tigers are 5-0 for the first time in 12 years.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 7 copy