Chapter Update: Record setting home opener for Western Michigan highlights Week 3


It was a record setting night inside Western Michigan’s Waldo Stadium, as the Broncos offense ran wild over Georgia State with nearly 700 total yards.

Four WMU running backs combined to score a program-record seven touchdowns. The seven rushing touchdowns are also the fifth most by a Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in a single game.

Senior running back LeVante Bellamy led the offensive explosion with 192 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Freshman Sean Tyler chipped in with 138 yards and a pair of touchdowns to give the Broncos two backs with 100-plus yards for the fifth time in the last 30 games.

Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill, a safety for the Broncos, had four tackles, his second career interception and also had a pass break up.

Davidson: Led by a scrappy defense that limited West Virginia Wesleyan to fewer than 200 total yards, the Wildcats improved to 3-0 for the second consecutive season and posted its first shutout since the 2014 season. The Davidson offense registered a season-high 357 yards on the ground and for the third consecutive game did not surrender a point in the first half – grabbing a 17-0 lead at intermission. Davidson Chapter co-founders and leaders, linebacker George Hatalowich and safety Kevin Stipe, combined to make four tackles.

Northwestern: The Wildcats won their home opener over UNLV on the strength of nearly 450 yards of total offense and a defense that forced three turnovers and held the Rebels scoreless in the second half. Running back Drake Anderson had a career day, posting 141 yards on 26 carries, including a seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Defensive end Joe Gaziano had a monster game with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Gaziano is only the fourth Wildcats player since 2000 to have a sack, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in a game. Northwestern Chapter Vice President Joe Spivak recorded the first solo tackle, sack and tackle for a loss of his career.

Learn more about Northwestern Chapter Vice President Joe Spivak in our Beyond The Trophy series

Penn State: Bolstered by a fourth-quarter goal line stand and a third quarter touchdown run by freshman running back Noah Cain, the Nittany Lions edged in-state rival Pitt in the 100th meeting between the two schools. The Panthers had first-and-goal from the 1-yard-line with less than five minutes to play trailing by a touchdown and came away with zero points. PSU Chapter President, starting quarterback Sean Clifford, threw for 222 yards. Nittany Lions kicker Jordan Stout broke the school record with a 57-yard field goal in the second quarter to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award. The previous record was held by Chris Bahr, who booted three 55-yard field goals in 1975. Penn State Chapter Vice President Chris Stoll is the Nittany Lions’ long snapper and was part of Stout’s record kick.

Marist: Fifth-year senior wide receiver Anthony Olivencia hauled in a 75-yard touchdown pass with 8:52 to play to vault the Red Foxes to their first victory of the season. Kicker Luke Paladino’s 49-yard field goal in the first quarter tied the school record, previously set in 2011. 

Stony Brook: The Seawolves won for the 11th consecutive time at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium behind a balanced offensive attack that overwhelmed visiting Wagner. Stony Brook had 551 total yards – 282 passing and 269 rushing. Quarterback Tyquell Fields, in his first season as the starter, registered his career-best in completions (11) and yards (282). Fields’ 282 yards was the most by a Stony Brook quarterback since the 2013 season. Stony Brook Chapter President, tight end Zach Lucas, had a pair of catches for 15 yards.

Clemson: The No. 1 team in the country set a school record for consecutive victories with win No. 18 on the road at Syracuse. The 18th win in a row surpassed the mark of 17 set in 2014-15. The Tigers defense recorded eight sacks and limited the Orange to fewer than 200 total yards. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence set a new career-high in passing yards with 395 and three touchdowns. Clemson Chapter President, punter Will Spiers, averaged 40.5 yards on six punts with a long of 53 yards.

Saint Francis: The Red Flash improved to 2-1 overall on the strength of a balanced offense and a strong second half to pull away from Merrimack in its home opener. Saint Francis outscored the visitors 22-0 over the final two quarters and were a perfect 7-for-7 in the red zone with five touchdowns.

Notre Dame: Behind a defense that produced three first-half interceptions including a pick-six to open the scoring and a 31-point second quarter the Top 10 nationally ranked Fighting Irish rolled over New Mexico to record their 12th consecutive victory at home. Notre Dame Chapter co-Vice President, linebacker Drew White, registered four tackles including one tackle for a loss.

Fordham: The Rams exploded in the fourth quarter with 23 unanswered points to rally from behind to knock off Bryant on the road to record victory No. 1 of the season. Limited to a trio of field goals for more than three quarters, Fordham ripped off touchdowns covering 48, 45 and 20 yards in a 5-minute span the second half of the fourth quarter to pull away.

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Northwestern Chapter Vice President and defensive tackle Joe Spivak


Each 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: Joe Spivak

College: Northwestern Wildcats

Height, weight, class, position: 6-0, 290-pound, junior, defensive tackle

High School: Montini Catholic in Darien, Ill.

About Joe: The junior came to Northwestern in 2017 with a ton of leadership qualities after being the first sophomore in his school to be selected as a team captain and Joe was a three-year captain at Montini Catholic. … One of 12 true freshman to play during the 2017, Joe saw action in five games as a back-up defensive tackle and made his first career tackle against Minnesota. … Joe Spivak joined the leadership team for the Northwestern Chapter in 2018 and has moved into a leadership role for 2019, serving as the chapter Vice President. He attended the 2019 Leadership Development Conference and became passionate about the rare disease cause. He helped guide the Northwestern Chapter to a successful Lift For Life earlier this year. … As a sophomore in 2018 Joe played in nine games as a defensive tackle and an Academic All-Big Ten selection.

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

SPIVAK: The national anthem at the B1G Championship last year.  The crowd was roaring the whole time and I was sobbing like a baby! Lol! Such a powerful moment and the embodiment of so much hard work for so many young men on that field and parents in the stands!

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

SPIVAK: Growing up, my parents and three older sisters opened my eyes to all the amazing things that come from investing yourself in athletics: the health benefits, the development of lifelong habits, the importance of goal-setting … The list could go on and on but what I think is the greatest is the relationships that come from sports! Football has brought me so many priceless relationships and made my family so much larger. I believe that these relationships and formation of a team is what is at the core of Uplifting Athletes: We want to help the Rare Disease Community know that they are NOT alone and we are on their team! 

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

SPIVAK: Just how “not rare” rare disease is! Just about every one of us has had our lives affected by rare diseases and to think that families affected can sometimes be told they are alone in the fight makes me eager to let them know we are there!

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

SPIVAK: Grind, grind, and grind some more … but SMILE through it all! To get to the college gridiron takes countless hours of training and the discipline to make the right decisions consistently, but to even be able to have ‘College Football’ as a goal is a blessing and should be viewed like it. Your attitude is all you can control at the end of the day, and when you view the journey itself as a blessing (not just the end-goal) the quality of your craft will skyrocket. Your height, weight, and 40 yard dash time do not define your skill-set … YOU DO!

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

SPIVAK: John Randle is easily my favorite NFL player. Randle (whose number I wear today-93) was also an undersized DT but above all was an absolute JUICE FACTORY. The guy basically trademarked trash talking and is arguably the most enthusiastic player to ever be on an NFL field. I encourage everyone to watch some videos of him on YouTube. Honorable Mention also goes to my cousin Michael Hoomanawanui who played TE for nine seasons in the league and the big brother I never had! 

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

SPIVAK: I would choose my grandfather from my dad’s side, Joe Spivak II. I never knew my grandpa Spivak but I wish I did. When he was in the sixth grade he left school during the depression to work and help provide for his family. He worked in a steel-mill for the rest of his life among an additional 1-2 more jobs to provide for my dad and his 12 siblings. My parents tell me stories about him and how his smile and personality would light up a room. My life was nothing like this and I often wonder if I could’ve been as selfless as he was and “grinded with a smile” if I was working in a steel-mill!

JOE ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

SPIVAK: Anything as long as it’s deep dish!

All time favorite movie?

SPIVAK: The Other Guys

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

SPIVAK: Chick-fil-a

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

SPIVAK: Northwestern Wildcats (any sport)

What is the most used app on your phone?

SPIVAK: Instagram

Lift For Life 2019 was a tremendous success and saw a record 21 college football chapters hold events


Over the course of five months, earlier this year, a record 21 members of the Uplifting Athletes’ chapter network held our signature event, Lift For Life, to raise awareness and funds in support of the Rare Disease Community.

Lift For Life 2019 was conducted in two phases. It started in Philadelphia with Penn on February 23 and finished in Waco, Texas with Baylor on July 24.

In between, the impact these student-athletes had on the Rare Disease Community, using their platform and voice as college football players to inspire others and support the cause, was staggering.

“While each program uses their platform in their own unique way, the common thread that unifies our chapter network is the forward thinking that enables these special student-athletes to empower their teammates to share their spotlight in order to shed light on a community that truly needs, values and appreciates the support,” said Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett. “Uplifting Athletes is humbled to work with such incredible student-athletes.”

During this year’s Lift For Life season, the audience created by these 21 chapters was over 52 million. More than 34 million of that came through social media followers and another 18.5 million was generated by online news focused on the 2019 events.

Every Lift For Life is unique at each university campus, but the driving force behind the event is the same for all our chapters nationwide. Lift For Life is an opportunity for teams to take a regular strength and conditioning workout and use it to raise money and awareness for the Rare Disease Community.

This year, Lift For Life raised nearly $175,000. The proceeds from Lift For Life support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Once Penn kicked off Lift For Life 2019, Phase 1 charged into high gear with Stony Brook, Saint Francis, Davidson, Lehigh, Marist and Princeton holding events in March, April and May.

Phase 2 of Lift For Life was ignited by Northwestern and Western Michigan lighting the fuse with events in May and June, respectively.

That set the table for the Rare Road Trip 2019 – the final Lift For Life blitz that saw 12 chapters hold events over a 12-day period in July.

Kent State started the Rare Road Trip 2019 ball rolling and was followed by Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Syracuse, Maryland, Notre Dame, Colgate, Illinois, Eastern Illinois and was capped off by Baylor.

The record 21 FBS and FCS chapters that gave their all to support the Rare Disease Community represented 10 NCAA Football Conferences including: Ivy League, Colonial Athletic Association, Northeast Conference, Pioneer Football League, Big Ten Conference, Mid-American Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Patriot League, Big 12 and Ohio Valley Conference.

Congratulations to Lehigh, Marist, Western Michigan, Kent State and Eastern Illinois for each holding its inaugural Lift For Life this year. It’s an honor to have those programs join our team.

“Lift For Life 2019 reached new heights with a record number of chapters hosting events and five programs holding their first Lift For Life as part of our team,” Brackett said. “We are grateful to everyone involved for making Lift For Life a success and joining us to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.”

Uplifting Athletes expands team with addition of Trey Klock, former Northwestern and Georgia Tech Chapter Leader


Uplifting Athletes is excited to welcome Trey Klock to our team in the role of Chapter Success Manager.

In 2015, as a college football student-athlete, Trey founded the Georgia Tech Chapter of Uplifting Athletes and, when he transferred to Northwestern, he joined the leadership team of the Wildcats’ Chapter.

His passion for the Rare Disease Community started with the loss of his brother, Kyle, to Tay-Sachs Disease. He then witnessed his Uncle Tom’s life being cut short after battling ALS.

Trey was a star football player at Lower Dauphin High School in Central Pennsylvania, earning First-Team All-State and Big 33 honors while also winning a PIAA District 3 Class AAAA championship.

“I am very excited to join the Uplifting Athletes’ staff. This organization has been a big part of my life and I am very fortunate to be part of this team now,” Klock said. “I am thrilled about the potential and future success of Uplifting Athletes and will do everything I can to help impact the Rare Disease Community.

“I have lost multiple family members to rare diseases and wanted to find a way to make a difference. My brother, Kyle, and my uncle, Tom Kirchoff, have provided me the motivation and strength to overcome adversity in my life. I wanted to do my part and use my platform as a college football player to speak up about what I am passionate about. I did that at Georgia Tech and Northwestern. Now I’m fortunate to get to do that full-time as part of an organization and cause I believe in.” 

At Uplifting Athletes, Trey will be responsible for overseeing the success of our nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters while working cohesively to elevate the rare disease cause as a national priority through the organization’s mission. 

“Uplifting Athletes took a big step forward with the addition of Trey Klock. He has been involved with our organization for more than three years contributing at the chapter level with Georgia Tech and Northwestern,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long said. “We are thrilled for the next step forward in his career as the newest full-time member of our team.”

“Trey brings a level of passion, intelligence and work ethic that will go a long way toward helping our organization enhance its ability to inspire the Rare Disease Community through our programs and chapter network.”

Trey received his undergraduate degree in 2017 from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) where he obtained a B.S. in Business Administration, Operation and Supply Chain Management from the Scheller College of Business.

He obtained his graduate degree, M.A. in Sports Administration from Northwestern University School of Professional Studies, in December of 2018.

After a redshirt year at Georgia Tech in 2014, he appeared in 22 games the next two years on the offensive line while picking up his undergraduate degree. He transferred to Northwestern in 2017 and was part of the 2018 Big Ten West championship team and appeared in 27 games for the Wildcats as a tight end over two seasons.

Trey received academic honors from both the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big Ten conferences. He joined the Uplifting Athletes team in the summer of 2019 and served as the Chapter Management Intern before becoming a full-time employee on August 5th.

Rare Road Trip 2019 closes the curtain on Lift For Life season


Phase 2 of Uplifting Athletes’ network of chapters Lift For Life season was culminated with Rare Road Trip 2019.

In the spring, seven of our chapters held these signature events to support our mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

Those seven schools set the table for the other 14 chapters to finish strong.

Before the road trip officially launched, Northwestern and Western Michigan kicked off the second phase of Lift For Life season. 

It was the inaugural Lift For Life for the Broncos from Western Michigan and Northwestern held its first outdoor event at the Wildcats’ new facility bordering Lake Michigan.

Then Rare Road Trip 2019 kicked into high gear with 12 chapters holding events in 12 days between July 12-24.

Kent State, Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Syracuse, Maryland, Colgate, Notre Dame, Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Baylor were the dozen schools that comprised  Rare Road Trip 2019.

For the Kent State and Eastern Illinois Chapters, being part of the Rare Road Trip was their first experience as members of the Uplifting Athletes team.

“Having the opportunity to give back to others as a member of the Rare Disease Community myself is very important to me,” Kent State Chapter President and Golden Flashes wide receiver Antwan Dixon said. “Also, having my teammates and coaches being all-in so that we can raise money for raise disease patients is such a blessing. We are all proud to be part of a team that is working so hard to Tackle Rare Diseases.”

Every Lift For Life is unique at each university campus, but the driving force behind the event is the same for all our chapters nationwide. Lift For Life is an opportunity for teams to take a regular strength and conditioning workout and use it to raise money and awareness for the Rare Disease Community.

The Notre Dame Chapter had a remarkable summer. In June the Fighting Irish held their annual Uplifting Experience Bowling event and welcomed a record number of patients, siblings and caregivers for a few hours of recreation and fun. Then Notre Dame football student-athletes used their platform to raise a chapter record $20,000-plus at Lift For Life while also using social media to raise awareness for the Rare Disease cause.

“Uplifting Athletes is an incredible opportunity for us to use our platform as college athletes to raise awareness for a great cause,” said Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and tight end Brock Wright. “It is very special for our program to be able to work with an organization that can make an impact in the fight against rare diseases. Lift for Life gave us a chance to contribute to this fight.”

Sharing a little about each stop on the Rare Road Trip: Penn State held it’s 17th annual Lift For Life, Maryland and Florida State held signature events again after a one-year absence on the schedule, and Colgate reached double-digits in years holding Lift For Life events as they were the second college football program to join our team.

Each year, Lift For Life at Syracuse grows stronger roots in the community, defending National Champion Clemson crushed its fundraising goal, NC State put on a great show for its fans with a unique 1-on-1 workout session, the Illinois Chapter flourished after the Fighting Illini made a few changes to their workout style under new strength coach Lou Hernandez and the Texas summer isn’t the only heat coming from Waco, Texas as the Baylor program turned in a fiery Lift For Life for the second straight year.

“At the University of Illinois, Uplifting Athletes and its Lift for Life are a tradition. Uplifting Athletes is a tremendous way for our teammates to use their platform as college athletes,” Illinois Chapter President and tight end Bobby Walker said. “We all care about what we do on the field, but the work outside of it is very important as well, which is why this event is so important to us.”

Today, the challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. Each chapter is part of the nationwide network of teams that are uniquely positioned to educate and engage their local community to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause.

“It has been a privilege to be a small part of such a big impact in many families lives,” Penn State Chapter President and quarterback Sean Clifford said. “Penn State is driven to help the Rare Disease Community because we know how important this cause is, and we see the significance in the bigger picture.”

Northwestern Chapter announces annual Lift For Life to support the Rare Disease Community set for May 24


The Northwestern Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its annual Lift For Life to support the Rare Disease Community on Friday, May 24 at 4:00 p.m.

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Northwestern Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Northwestern is a part of Uplifting Athletes’ nationwide network of chapters led by college football student-athletes.

Each chapter embraces the mission of Uplifting Athletes by using college football as a platform to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

The 2019 Northwestern Chapter Lift For Life is open to the public and will take place at Martin Field.

“Uplifting Athletes is the first time I have been able to use my voice as a student-athlete to help others,” Northwestern Chapter President Peter Snodgrass said. “Watching my brothers rally around the Rare Disease Community is truly THE most inspiring experience I have had at Northwestern. As a leader of our chapter, I have seen first hand the value that my teammates and I can give to the Rare Disease Community.”

The 2019 Northwestern Chapter Lift For Life will be a competition featuring 225-bench press repetitions between the nine football student-athlete led fundraising teams.

Fans and supporters can pledge to any of the Wildcats’ nine teams for the average number of bench press repetitions that particular team averages. So choose your favorite team and back that squad by visiting the Northwestern Chapter Lift For Life site and pledging now! You can also make a flat donation to any team.

The proceeds from the Northwestern 2019 Lift For Life support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

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

”I love football… but even more than that, I love the relationships that football has brought into my life. I believe that Uplifting Athletes is extending these unbreakable bonds into a community that needs them more than ever,” Northwestern Chapter Vice President Joe Spivak said. “I think most of the guys all agree that the money we raise is awesome, but to be able to serve as an example and extension of FAMILY to these families is what is really awesome! Uplifting Athletes brings us all together on the same team.”

When the Northwestern Chapter was formed in 2011 it was former Northwestern and Notre Dame coach, the late Ara Parseghian, and his support of the rare disease Niemann-Pick Type C that inspired the Wildcats. More recently, the leaders at Northwestern chose to use a personal relationship and added ALS as part of the motivation to support the Rare Disease Community through Uplifting Athletes.

Please support the Northwestern Chapter and help the Wildcats reach their impressive $13,000 team Lift For Life goal.

32 players from 2019 Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases team join the NFL ranks


Earlier this year, Uplifting Athletes partnered with 56 NFL prospects to give them their first opportunity to share their new platform as professional athletes to inspire others with hope and to support the Rare Disease Community.

When the stakes were the highest in their football lives, these NFL prospects made a choice to pledge their performance at either the NFL Combine or their individual NFL Pro Day workouts to raise awareness and funds in support of Uplifting Athletes’ mission.

Of the 56 NFL prospects who participated in the Uplifting Athletes 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign, we are excited to share that 32 were either drafted or signed free agent contracts and are taking that next step, continuing their football career in the NFL.

Quite a feat considering less than 1 percent of high school football players actually go on to sign a professional NFL contract.  For those who climb to the top of the football ladder and take that next  step from NFL prospect to being drafted or signed by an NFL team, they are in rare air.

“Congratulations to each and every one of these men for earning this rare opportunity,” said Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett, who played in the NFL. “To those that give, much is received. It is fitting that the men who took the time to help those affected by rare diseases at such a pivotal time in their athletic careers get the opportunity to join a rare fraternity of men to sign an NFL contract after college.

“We wish each and every one of you good health, great success and to always help those in need with the platform bestowed upon you.”

Of the 56 players that took part in the 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign this past March, 12 of them were drafted and 20 have signed undrafted free agent contracts.

That group includes a pair of first-round picks in defensive lineman Christian Wilkins from Clemson who was drafted No. 13 overall by the Miami Dolphins and former NC State center Garrett Bradbury who was the No. 18 overall selection by the Minnesota Vikings.

The other 10 draft picks from our 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases team include: Miles Boykin from Notre Dame, taken in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens, and Fighting Irish teammates Julian Love and Drue Tranquill who were taken in the fourth round by the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively.

Former Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was taken off the board by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round. A trio of players, Ty Johnson from Maryland to the Detroit Lions, former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley to the Baltimore Ravens and one-time NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon to the Washington Redskins, were selected in the sixth round.

Rounding out the 12 draft picks, University of Illinois guard and former Illini Chapter President Nick Allegretti was taken by Kansas City, Nick Scott from Penn State went to the Los Angeles Rams and Syracuse defensive lineman Chris Slayton was picked by the New York Giants. All three were seventh-round selections.

Collectively our 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases team raised nearly $45,000 in support of Uplifting Athletes’ mission and our four programs – Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Congratulations to all the members of our Reps For Rare Diseases squad that earned an opportunity to compete inside the lines at the highest level.