Princeton Chapter annual Lift For Life event set for April 27th and is open to the public


PRINCETON LFL 17 GRAPHICThe Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its annual Lift For Life to support the rare disease community on April 27 at 4:45 p.m. outside the Frist Campus Center.

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

Each chapter embraces the mission of Uplifting Athletes using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

The 2017 Princeton Chapter Lift For Life is a competition that will pit the offense vs. the defense head-to-head on max bench press repetitions.

Fans can pledge based on the total number of bench press repetitions either the Team Offense or Team Defense averages. So choose your favorite side of the ball and pledge to support the Princeton Chapter in its quest to tackle rare diseases by visiting the Tigers fundraising site.

Proceeds from the Princeton Chapter annual Lift For Life supports Uplifting Athletes and its commitment to life skills development, patient focused programs and rare disease research.

Today, the challenges faced by the rare disease community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The Stony Brook 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.

The Princeton Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2011 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Princeton Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of Jordan Culbreath, a former Tigers running back.

Culbreath was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and battled through his rare disease diagnosis to return to the field and finish his playing career. His inspiring story of hope not only led his Princeton teammates to form a chapter, Culbreath was also honored as the 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion.

Please support the Princeton Chapter and help the Tigers reach their $15,000 team Lift For Life goal.

 

Taking a look back at 2016 for Uplifting Athletes


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In a year of change on many fronts for Uplifting Athletes, taking time to reflect is time well spent.

Our purpose as a national nonprofit remains unaffected. We serve the 30 million Americans that comprise the rare disease community. But our scope and mission underwent a natural evolution to kick off the year.

We expanded our scope of support to the larger rare disease community as a whole and settled on five categories of rare disease groups, rare cancers, rare blood disorders, rare genetic disorders, rare autoimmune disorders and rare muscular disorders.

Our mission has remained the same since 2007, but we overhauled the words to more adequately reflect where we want to go in the future. Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization that inspires the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

In February we crowned our eighth Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion. And we celebrated USC long snapper Jake Olson and his amazing rare disease story at the annual Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala in March.

Our annual Gridiron Gala was also in March, and for the first time we put the focus of our annual fundraising event squarely on rare disease patients and their families. It was a celebration of battling, and in some cases overcoming, the challenges of a rare disease journey.

In May we welcomed a record 30-plus leaders in college football to Northwestern University for our annual Chapter Leadership Conference. The weekend painted a promising picture for the future of our nationwide network of student-athlete led chapters.

Over the course of the late spring and into the summer, 19 chapters ran a Lift For Life event. This is the signature fundraising and rare disease awareness event, but trust us when we say no two events are the same.

Penn used its annual Iron Quaker lifting competition to hold its Lift For Life, Notre Dame holds a bowling event to engage the community, at Arizona it’s a kids clinic and Nebraska holds an annual 5K/Fun Run as its signature event.

Clemson, Georgia Tech, Washington and Northern Arizona each held their inaugural Lift For Life events in 2016. And the charter chapter of Uplifting Athletes, Penn State, held its 14th annual Lift For Life.

The funds that are raised from these annual Lift For Life events supports rare disease research and patient focused programs. And this fall, Uplifting Athletes allotted research funds to support translational research being done at UPMC in Pittsburgh, Fox Chase in Philadelphia and Penn.

August was a month of more transition for the organization. Former Chapter Manager Becky Mayes left after nearly four years with Uplifting Athletes and Director of Marketing Mark Mihalik took a similar position with PledgeIt.

Those departures provided Uplifting Athletes the opportunity to hire Rob Long as the Director of Strategic Development and Chapter Liaison. Long is the inspiration behind Syracuse forming a chapter, a former rare disease patient who overcame his rare brain cancer and played college football.

In addition, John Trzeciak was looking for passion and purpose in his journey and as a long-time resident of State College and a Penn State alumnus and fan, he knew about Uplifting Athletes. Trzeciak is a full-time volunteer and mentor with a wealth of knowledge and skills that will help Uplifting Athletes maximize its resources in the future.

At the peak of their football season, 11 members of the Uplifting Athletes Chapter network donated their time and hard work to run Touchdown Pledge Drives.

In its third year of existence, Arizona, Clemson, Colgate, Florida State, Maryland, Penn State, Penn, Princeton, St. Francis, Stony Brook and Syracuse hosted Touchdown Pledge Drive games.

Penn, who shared the Ivy League title with Princeton, ran a campaign that included all of its Ivy games and included the offense, defense and kicking game. Colgate and Princeton each ran offense vs. defense drives. The remaining eight chapters ran a pledge drive based solely on touchdowns.

We are grateful for all the blessings of this past year that allowed us to serve the rare disease community. We are excited for 2017.

Together … We Are … Stronger!

 

Plenty of success on the field in 2016 for Uplifting Athletes Chapters including pair in College Football Playoff and duo sharing Ivy League crown


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The 2016 season was another strong year for Uplifting Athletes Chapter schools on the football field.

Two of the four teams in the College Football Playoff are aligned with Uplifting Athletes. Three programs won a Power 5 FBS Conference Championships, and a pair our FCS schools shared the Ivy League title.

Pac-12 champion Washington and ACC winner Clemson will compete in the College Football Playoff as the Nos. 4 and 2 seeds, respectively.

Penn State joined the Huskies and Tigers in claiming conference bragging rights when the Nittany Lions stormed back to edge Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

The Nittany Lions just missed out on the College Football Playoff, finishing No. 5 overall, but the consolation prize is a trip the Rose Bowl.

Congratulations to the Princeton Tigers and Penn Quakers on winning the Ivy League crown. This was the second consecutive year Penn shared the Ivy title. Princeton last won at least a share of the Ivy League championship was 2013.

Joining Washington, Clemson and Penn State in the college football bowl season are Baylor, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, Nebraska, Northwestern and South Carolina.

Thank you to all the Uplifting Athletes Chapters for making the rare disease community a priority in 2016.

 

 

Uplifting Athletes Chapters cross the goal line for 2016 Touchdown Pledge Drive season with strong finish


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At the peak of their football season, 11 members of the Uplifting Athletes Chapter network donated their time and hard work to run Touchdown Pledge Drives.

In its third year of existence, Arizona, Clemson, Colgate, Florida State, Maryland, Penn State, Penn, Princeton, St. Francis, Stony Brook and Syracuse hosted Touchdown Pledge Drive games.

This empowered our college football student-athlete led chapters to continue their mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

Penn, who shared the Ivy League title with Princeton, ran a campaign that included all of its Ivy games and included the offense, defense and kicking game. Colgate and Princeton each ran offense vs. defense drives. The remaining eight chapters ran a pledge drive based solely on touchdowns.

All total the 2016 Touchdown Pledge Drives raised nearly $35,000 in support of the rare disease community through Uplifting Athletes.

To learn more about the individual accomplishments of each chapter, visit the Uplifting Athletes 2016 Touchdown Pledge Drive page.

Proceeds from the Uplifting Athletes 2016 Touchdown Pledge Drive supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

Thank you to each of the 11 chapters and all those who donated for shining a spotlight on the rare disease community.

Visit upliftingathletes.org to learn more about our mission or click here to help fund life saving research today!

Princeton Chapter Football Pledge Drive set for opener Saturday vs. Lafayette


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With 14 starters back, seven on each side of the ball, there is plenty of reason for optimism for the Princeton in 2016, as the Tigers figure to be part of the Ivy League title hunt.

The Tigers finished only 2-5 in the Ivy League last year, but four of those losses were by seven or fewer points. Plus, plenty of weapons return on offense and three quarters of a defensive front that helped the Tigers register 28 sacks a year ago is back.

The Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes is counting on the offense to put a few touchdowns on the board and the defense to register some tackles behind the line of scrimmage September 17th when the Tigers host Lafayette in the season opener for the 2016 Princeton Football Pledge Drive to support the rare disease community.

Each touchdown on offense or tackle-for-loss and sack on defense the Tigers register against Lafayette helps the student-athlete led Princeton Chapter continue its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport.

The leadership team of the student-athlete led Uplifting Athletes Chapter and all the members of the 2016 Tigers squad is asking fans to support their efforts by making a pledge to either the offense or defense through the online Princeton Football Pledge Drive site.

Proceeds from the Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes Princeton Football Pledge Drive supports rare disease research and patient focused programs.

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 Princeton 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.

Princeton started tackling rare diseases in 2011 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Princeton Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of Jordan Culbreath, a former Tigers running back who overcame his battle with a rare blood disorder.

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

Annual Uplifting Athletes Leadership Retreat sees a record 31 student-athletes attend


UA-Retreat-2016Each spring Uplifting Athletes brings together the student-athlete leaders from our Chapter network across the country for a weekend of training and camaraderie guided by the Uplifting Athletes staff.

This year the eighth annual Leadership Retreat took place in late May at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago and featured a record 31 student-athletes from 17 Uplifting Athletes Chapters.

Student-athletes representing Arizona, Clemson, Colgate, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Northern Arizona, Maryland, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn, Princeton, Penn State, Purdue, St. Francis, Stony Brook, Syracuse, and Washington.

“It was a great retreat, and we all learned a lot,” said Princeton Chapter leader Zachary Kuehm, a junior offensive lineman from New Jersey. “Being at the retreat really opened my eyes even more to the great cause that we all are fighting for.

“And it is truly unique to see so many dedicated athletes band together to fight rare diseases.”

The weekend kicked off with the student-athletes traveling in from all over the country Friday afternoon followed by a getting acquainted dinner with the Uplifting Athletes staff and members of the NCAA Compliance team.

Put through their paces by the four members of the Uplifting Athletes staff, Saturday was an intense day of learning and training on the finer points of being a chapter leader.

The Saturday sessions included an Uplifting Athletes overview from Executive Director and Founder Scott Shirley, chapter event planning with Becky Mayes, communications and how to tell your story with Andy Shay and chapter marketing and social media with Mark Mihalik.

Also included in the Saturday programming was an athletics department overview by Brian Baptiste, a Deputy Director of Athletics at Northwestern. And Uplifting Athletes Letterman Zak Pedersen, who founded the Illinois Chapter, stopped by to share his experience and talked about life after college football.

“The leadership retreat was really an awesome experience,” said Penn Chapter President Sam Tullman. “Not only were there a number of presentations with truly valuable takeaways, but more importantly, there was an air of creativity, collaboration and excitement.

“The connections made to other upstanding individuals are something I cherish, and something I see developing into fruitful relationships.”

Before the student-athletes hit the road Sunday afternoon, Mayes went over the nuts and bolts of running a Touchdown Pledge Drive, an open discussion session on getting teammates involved and wrapped up the weekend with a work session on the path forward and the next steps.

In prior years the annual Leadership Retreat was pretty much limited to the east coast in terms of geography. Last year, Uplifting Athletes held two retreats – in Harrisburg and Chicago.

This was the first time it was a held exclusively in Chicago and getting more than 30 student-athletes leaders all together provided a vehicle for learning and sharing that will ultimately greatly benefit the rare disease community.

“The Leadership Retreat was awesome. Getting to know college football players from all around the country was very special,” said Clemson Chapter President and punter Andy Teasdall. “We are in a unique position as leaders to share our Uplifting Athletes college football story and life experiences about serving and helping those with rare diseases.”

 

On The Road: Princeton Chapter 2016 Lift For Life Recap


PRINCETON LIFT 1When it comes to spring weather in the mid-Atlantic, flexibility is the best policy to ensure success for a scheduled outdoor event.

The Princeton Chapter had a great plan to hold its annual Lift For Life last Thursday on Frist Lawn in the middle of campus at 2:30 in the afternoon. There’s plenty of student foot traffic during that time, and would have added another level of exposure for the Uplifting Athletes Chapter to its peers.

But a steady afternoon rain forced Princeton Chapter President John Hummel to call an audible and move the Lift For Life indoors to the Tigers weight room under the football stadium.

“It was a tough call because it’s good exposure for us doing the lift on Frist Lawn,” said Hummel, a junior defensive lineman from suburban St. Louis. “The guys still got after it, though, and there was plenty of energy and competition. It was still a great event.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters.

The Princeton Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. This was the fifth Lift For Life for the Princeton Chapter, and it raised more than $13,400 for Uplifting Athletes in support of the rare disease community.

“Our story is all about a former teammate here at Princeton fighting his rare disease and coming back to play football,” Hummel said. “This is personal for us, but we are proud to be part of the Uplifting Athletes team and helping to support the mission and all rare diseases.”

Photo Gallery: 2016 Princeton Lift For Life

The Princeton Lift For Life is also a competitive event. The Tigers held a draft to select teams and competed in three events – max bench press repetitions, number of tire flips and average height of box jumps.

Three separate groups came through the weight room and competed as part of the team, bringing plenty of energy and high-fives plus there was always an eye on the TV high on the wall that featured the live scoreboard and updated numbers.

Team No. 8, comprised of Deion King, Kurt Holuba, Alex Parkinson, Dominique Summerville, Hashim Moore, Scott Carpenter, Spencer Cotten, Teddy Graves, Jack Corso, Markus Phox and Benjamin Ellis, came out on top with 22 total points.

They finished first overall in two of the three events by averaging 49.3 inches on the box jumps and churning out 103 total tire flips. Team No. 8 was second in bench press reps with 18.5 – only two-tenths behind the bench winner, Team No. 1.

Uplifting Athletes would like to thank the student-athlete leadership team of the Princeton Chapter and all the Tigers fans who supported the 2016 Lift For Life.

PRINCETON LIFT 2