Six FCS Chapters kick off 2018 Lift For Life season with successful events


GENERAL L4L 18 GRAPHICUplifting Athletes kicked off its 2018 Lift For Life season with successful events at six FCS Chapters: Colgate, Davidson, Penn, Princeton, Saint Francis and Stony Brook.

The six events combined to raise more than $30,000 for Uplifting Athletes in support of its mission and commitment to our four charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Each member of the Uplifting Athletes team hit the road this spring to attend at least one of the Lift For Life events. Chapter Manager Brett Brackett made stops at Davidson, Princeton and Stony Brook, Scott Shirley traveled to Colgate, Andy Shay went to Saint Francis and Rob Long visited UPenn.

Each team member shared a brief account of what made these Lift For Life events unique and special.

SAINT FRANCIS: There was a competitive fire that was very obvious the moment you walked into the Red Flash weight room. It was a Saturday morning and normally that doesn’t fire guys up in the middle of the spring practice grind. But the Saint Francis team was ready to crush its goals. The big talk was about who would be the five players to represent each side of the ball in the offense vs. defense bench press max-out challenge to determine the winner. The music was thumping and the players were cheering as guys took their turn knocking out as many repetitions as possible. I was impressed with the commitment the strength and conditioning staff has to what the chapter is trying to accomplish. That’s an overlooked part of the equation to success, and at Saint Francis the Red Flash have an asset that helps make Lift For Life a success. – Andy Shay

DAVIDSON: This spring was Davidson’s first Lift For Life but you couldn’t tell that by the show of enthusiasm bright and early that morning. The entire team plus coaching staff packed into the narrow weight room to see which team could average the most reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. The teams wasted no time surrounding their respective benches and chanting as each rep was performed. As the voices echoed off the walls and the reps increased, so did the total fundraising amounts for each team. Team Cats Are Wild mastered the competition finishing with over $2,500 raised to support Uplifting Athletes. Second place went to Cats Crushing Rare Cancer with nearly $2,400 raised.  The Davidson coaches and players felt the extra motivation to push out extra reps knowing they were supporting such a worthy cause. – Brett Brackett

PRINCETON: The weather could not have been better on the Princeton University campus for their annual Lift For Life event. This only added to the excitement and energy found outside of the Frist Student Center. Two bench racks, two large tractor tires, and one box jump station were enough to provide ample opportunity for the student-athletes to unleash their energy in support of the Rare Disease Community. From the start, the air was electric as the student-athletes cheered and chanted as reps were performed representing another dollar raised in support of Uplifting Athletes. Overall, the offense came away with a clean sweep of all three challenges, however, the defense barely topped the offense in total team fundraising with $2,848 and $2,823 respectively. – Brett Brackett

COLGATE: The country roads leading me back to Hamilton, NY, always afford me the opportunity to reflect on my journey with Uplifting Athletes. Every chapter has a unique story and a special place in my heart…but it’s the drive to-and-from Colgate University in 2008 that I’ll never forget. Days after meeting then Colgate Athletic Director, Dave Roach, at NACDA in Dallas, I accepted his invitation to visit with their student-athletes to talk about expanding the Lift For Life from Penn State to other college campuses. I drove the four hours from Harrisburg to campus and met with Greg, Pat & Stephen in a coffee shop on the square. We outlined the necessary next steps to create the first “new chapter” of Uplifting Athletes. The windshield time allowed me to daydream about how big Uplifting Athletes could become and this was the first step. When I arrived home that evening, I was greeted by an email from Greg that enthusiastically communicated that they had completed ALL of the necessary steps and were ready to go! Returning to Colgate for their 10th Lift For Life was an amazing opportunity for me to use this benchmark to measure our progress and impact…while reaffirming my belief in the student-athletes’ resolve to use their platform and help others. Many of them did not know me, and I did not know them…but it didn’t matter because Uplifting Athletes is bigger than any of us. – Scott Shirley

STONY BROOK: Despite Mother Nature’s best effort to derail the spirits of the team, Stony Brook Uplifting Athletes held its annual Lift For Life on March 7 during one of several snowstorms that hit the east coast in the month of March. The impact that the Stony Brook Lift For Life had on the Rare Disease Community was far greater than the impact the storm had the Stony Brook community that day. The squad divided into five teams for a strength and conditioning competition. In addition, the teams battled to see which team could raise the most money to support Uplifting Athletes. Team Daniels prevailed as the largest part of the overall total of $5,145 raised by Stony Brook. Once the weather cleared, I was able to make a trip to Stony Brook to watch one of their spring practices. The leaders of Stony Brook Chapter have done a tremendous job creating an atmosphere amongst the team that projects a giving spirit and a willingness to leverage their platform as college football players to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community. – Brett Brackett

PENN: The 2018 UPenn Lift for Life was full of energy and excitement. The players took turns gathering around the bench racks to encourage their teammates with raucous cheers to get as many reps as possible to benefit Uplifting Athletes. Chapter Presidents Cooper Gardner and Steve Farrell set the pace with their lifts and other teammates followed suit. The Penn team headed in to the summer on a high and with their sites set on capturing another Ivy League title. – Rob Long

Thank you to all of those that supported these exciting and meaningful events. The summer events schedule for our FBS Chapters is in the works.

Princeton Chapter annual Lift For Life on deck May 8th and will feature an offense vs. defense bench press competition


PRINCETON L4L 18 GRAPHICThe Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its annual Lift For Life to support the rare disease community on Tuesday, May 8th outside the Trist Student Center starting at 4:45 p.m.

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.

“It is an honor to be able to use our platform to help raise awareness and support Uplifting Athletes and the rare disease community,” said Princeton Chapter President and Tigers offensive lineman Andre Guest. “We are all proud to be part of a team that is working so hard to tackle rare diseases.”

The 2018 Princeton Chapter Lift For Life is a competition pitting the Offense vs. Defense to see which side of the ball can average the most bench press repetitions during Lift For Life.

Fans and supporters can make a pledge for every bench press repetition a particular team averages during the event. So pick your favorite side of the ball and support that team by visiting the Princeton Chapter Lift For Life fundraising site.

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.

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

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 impressive $10,000 team Lift For Life goal.

Former Princeton quarterback Chad Kanoff uses Pro Day workout to help tackle rare diseases


KANOFF RFRD GRAPHIC 18Former Princeton quarterback Chad Kanoff is using his next step toward their NFL dream as an opportunity to give back.

Kanoff is running a Reps For Rare Diseases campaign to support Uplifting Athletes and its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

Fans can pledge any amount for every broad jump inch Kanoff clears at his Pro Day by visiting his Reps For Rare Diseases campaign page.

As I take a step toward my NFL dream, I’d like to use this opportunity to give back,” Kanoff said. “I have committed my performance at my Pro Day to support Uplifting Athletes and its mission to help tackle rare diseases.”

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

 

 

Leadership Development Conference ’18 featured a little bit of everything for nearly 40 college football student-athletes


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For nearly a decade, Uplifting Athletes has been bringing college football student-athletes leaders together for a weekend of training and development.

Last week nearly 40 student-athletes traveled to Atlanta for the 2018 Leadership Development Conference hosted by Uplifting Athletes and put together by Director of Chapter Development Brett Brackett.

“The 2018 Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference was a tremendous success. I left the conference energized by the focus and determination in this group of student-athletes,” Brackett said. “Despite their hectic lives they took time to develop leadership and transferable skills while learning how they can work with Uplifting Athletes to leverage their platform to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.”

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

One of the many highlights from the student-athlete’s perspective was the discussion with the panel of former student-athlete who are now professionals.

Eight former college student-athletes from the Atlanta area took on all questions about transitioning from college into the professional world.

“The best part of the weekend was having the former student-athlete panel. Being a student-athlete is a privilege and requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. But eventually football will end. We all need a plan of action when that happens,” Syracuse Chapter leader Nolan Cooney said. “Having the former athletes speak to us, was an incredible opportunity to hear from players that are now having incredible success in the corporate world.

“There was no sugar coating the conversation, it was powerful, funny and engaging. Having athletes from various schools, with totally different lives created a connection with everybody in the room.”

Uplifting Athletes Director of Strategic Development Rob Long is a former rare disease patient and college football player. Sharing his story allowed the student-athletes to develop a more personal connection to the cause prior to a visit to the Scottish Rite Hospital for an afternoon of visiting with rare disease patients.

Sunday began with a session on fundraising followed by a video review of Uplifting Athletes 2017.

The conference closed with Beth Nguyen, a NORD Rare Impact Award Honoree, sharing her story. Nguyen battles the rare disease Syringomyelia and is a mother, nurse, wife, patient advocate and leader.

A special thank you to all our supporters who made this conference possible. These young men are making a difference in the rare disease community with your help.

We asked a few of the student-athletes to provide us with some feedback, and what we received was not only helpful to us going forward, but it moved us.

So we are going to share the exact words of two attendees, Cooney and Trey Klock from Northwestern, about what Leadership Development Conference ’18 meant to them.

Uplifting Athletes: In your own words sum up your experience at the Leadership Development Conference and share something that moved or impacted you?

Cooney: This year’s Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference was an incredible opportunity to further my knowledge on what Uplifting Athletes does to not only impact the lives of rare disease patients but as well for the student-athletes. The conference was a great experience to meet and interact with athletes from other universities. Regardless of what school you attend, everybody was sharing very similar stories of their experiences as football players and as leaders of Uplifting Athletes. It is really special to be able to take our on-field competitiveness out of the equation and developed strong relationships with athletes that we play every fall. Uplifting Athletes is continuously growing and adding new chapters. With the new schools at the conference, it created a completely new element to my thinking and ideas. Some of the new chapters were brainstorming ideas that seemed unconventional to the traditional model, but I think that we can use in the future. Atlanta was a great city to host it in. It was really nice to get some heat, after a few weeks in the cold north. I saw a big difference in the conference from the past year in Philadelphia to this year in Atlanta. In Philadelphia, I was fairly new to Uplifting Athletes and I don’t know if I had the confidence to feel that I could make an impact. This year, I felt confident and collaborative. I very much enjoyed the structure of the conference this year. Moving around to the different rooms and touching on the various areas that Uplifting Athletes covers. Then going to the hospital was an experience that you rarely get to have. Typically you raise money and send it in without knowing much about where it is going. By going to the hospital, you are able to see directly where all of our efforts are going to go by interacting with children that are battling a rare disease.

Klock: It was an honor to represent Northwestern football with my teammate Peter Snodgrass at the annual Leadership Development Conference. I made a lot of new friends and enjoyed hearing about the efforts of the new chapters such as Alabama, Western Michigan, Davidson, Lehigh, and others. This was my third Leadership Development Conference and I continued to learn a lot about what we can do as student-athletes to raise awareness and money to fight rare diseases. I enjoyed meeting Brett Brackett and talking more with Scott (Shirley), Rob, and Andy (Shay). They are all exceptional men that have done some amazing things with Uplifting Athletes. I especially enjoyed visiting the children’s hospital and meeting a lot of young people that are facing some adversity right now. It made me realize how lucky I am to be able to play the great game of football. We also had the opportunity to hear from Beth Nguyen, a 2017 NORD Rare Impact Award Honoree. She is a mother, wife, nurse, patient, and advocate for the rare disease community. In 2012, Beth was given the diagnosis of Syringomyelia and she later created a task force (WSCTF) to increase understanding of the disease across all medical disciplines and to improve direct patient care. She also started a patient registry to drive research, has organized support groups, and developed of the first-ever advocacy models of care for both Syringomyelia and Chiari Malformation. Everyone was intrigued by her message and very respectful of her mission. As I reflect on the weekend, I am so thankful for every chance I get to wake up and make an impact on the world.

Uplifting Athletes: What was your favorite part or aspect of the weekend and explain why?

Cooney: The best part of the weekend was having the former athlete panel. Being a student-athlete is a privilege and requires a tremendous amount of time and effort. But eventually football will end, we all need a plan of action when that happens. Having the former athletes speak to us, was an incredible opportunity to hear from players that are now having incredible success in the corporate world. There was no sugar coating the conversation, it was powerful, funny and engaging. Having athletes from various schools, with totally different lives created a connection with everybody in the room. Everybody in the room has incredible competitiveness, and the former athletes are giving us the tools to harness that and use it on and off the field. Uplifting Athletes encourages athletes to make a difference in the community, use the power of sport to tackle rare diseases. But also use the power of sport in all different areas. To paraphrase something that was said that resonated with me was, after you graduate your identity as an athlete diminishes. Utilize being a student-athlete, to create opportunities and relationships that you’ll use your entire life. Another piece that stuck with me is when the panel was asked how much being an athlete translates to the working work. They responded with, look at the job description, teamwork, time management, dedication, ability to listen. Every one of these qualities is developed being an athlete. As the weekend progressed, I was constantly thinking about tasks and ideas I was ready to tackle. It re-energizes my enthusiasm to grow our chapter and make a difference.

Klock: Besides visiting the children’s hospital, my favorite part of the weekend was the former student-athlete Q&A session. We had the opportunity to hear from a player panel of former college student-athletes living in the Atlanta area. We asked a lot of questions about making the transition from college into the professional world. They were all very successful people and I learned a lot from it. The focus of the weekend was to learn more about the fight against rare diseases and develop a goal for our individual chapters, but I also really enjoyed learning about the “Uplifting Leaders” part, which consisted of tools and advice to prepare for life after football.

 

Annual Leadership Development Conference welcomes 36 college football student-athletes to Atlanta


LDC18 GRAPHICFor the ninth consecutive year, we will gather college football student-athletes for three days of education, training and networking during the 2018 Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference.

This year 36 current football players from 18 universities across the country will travel to Atlanta on Friday, January 26 to kick off a busy weekend of engaging work sessions, networking and relationship building.

“We are excited to provide the student-athletes with an opportunity to network with other bright minded leaders in college football,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Chapter Development Brett Brackett said. “Our goal is to grow their personal skill set and help them learn more about how to leverage their position as student-athletes to impact the rare disease community through Uplifting Athletes.”

Among the 18 schools that will be represented in Atlanta, six of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Defending National Champion Alabama, Minnesota, Temple, Davidson, Lehigh and Western Michigan have student-athletes attending for the first time.

Current Chapter leaders from Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Syracuse, Illinois, Saint Francis, Penn, Northwestern, Maryland, Princeton and Stony Brook will also be in attendance.

The 2018 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 featuring a visit to the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital to interact with 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.

 

Weekly Update: Northwestern “Cardiac Cats” become first FBS school in history to win three straight games in overtime with road victory at Nebraska


WEEK 10 GRAPHICThis Northwestern team has become known to it fans as the “Cardiac Cats” with very good reason.

For the third week in a row, head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s squad needed extra time to edge fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Nebraska in Lincoln.

With wins over Michigan State, in triple overtime, and Iowa at Ryan Field, Northwestern is now the first FBS program to ever record three consecutive overtime victories.

Against Nebraska, the Wildcats trailed by a touchdown deep into the fourth quarter before QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 13-play, 84-yard drive and scored on a 7-yard run with 5:03 to play. Thorson also scored on a QB sneak in overtime, then watched the Wildcats defense come up with a stop to seal the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive victory.

Penn came up with its signature win of the season, rallying from down four points late to edge fierce rival and fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Princeton in an Ivy League affair at Franklin Field.

The Quakers led most of the game before the Tigers exploded for 14 quick points in the fourth quarter to seize the lead. Penn QB Will Fischer-Colbrie engineered an impressive 80-yard scoring play, completing all three of his passes, to guide the Quakers to victory.

Fischer-Colbrie threw the winning TD pass inside the final two minutes, finished 15 of 18 for 202 yards and pair of touchdowns to grab the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award.

Meet Penn State Chapter Co-President and Nittany Lions QB Trace McSorley in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Florida State running back Cam Akers went for 199 yards and two scores on 22 totes to notch the Seminoles’ third win of the season with a triumph over fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter Syracuse. And defending National Champion Clemson, who hosts FSU this week, used 279 total yards and three touchdowns from QB Kelley Bryant to hold off fellow Uplifting Athletes Chapter NC State.

Once-beaten Notre Dame used a 24-point explosion in the second quarter to open up enough breathing room on Wake Forest to withstand a furious second-half rally by the Demon Deacons.

Fighting Irish QB Brandon Wimbush put on a show, rolling up 390 total yards (280 passing and 110 rushing) with three touchdowns to lead a Notre Dame offense that piled up 710 yards.

Stony Brook kept its magical season alive by winning for the seventh time in nine games by edging Albany in overtime at home. Joe Carbone hit Harrison Jackson with a 13-yard TD pass in the extra session to win it for the Seawolves. Carbone threw for 218 yards and a pair of scores on a day when the Stony Brook ground game was limited to only 79 yards.

WEEK 10 SCOREBOARD

Weekly Update: Notre Dame continues to climb in the polls after huge win over USC and Penn State stays unbeaten


WEEK 8 GRAPHICEver since losing a one-point game at home in Week 2 to undefeated Georgia, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have slowly ascended the ladder of national relevance.

Notre Dame won its fifth game in row and improved to 6-1 after clobbering previously No. 11 ranked USC in South Bend. The Irish amassed nearly 500 yards on the ground to bury the Trojans.

Running back Josh Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush combined for 297 of those yards on 33 carries and scored five of the Notre Dame touchdowns.

Notre Dame climbed to No. 9 in the AP Top 25 and is No. 10 in the Coaches Poll.

No. 2 ranked Penn State stayed undefeated and head coach James Franklin picked up his first victory over Michigan in the marquee match-up of Week 8.

Penn State’s offense piled up more than 500 yards of offense on the previously No. 1 ranked Michigan Wolverines defense. Quarterback Trace McSorley piled up 358 of those yards and accounted for four touchdowns and was honored as the Walter Camp FBS Offensive Player of the Week.

Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda had 13 tackles, a TFL and a sack to pace a defense that limited Michigan to fewer than 275 total yards. Penn State outscored Michigan 21-0 the second half.

Meet University of Pennsylvania Chapter President and Quakers linebacker Sam Follansbee in our weekly Beyond The Trophy series.

Princeton continues to score points at an alarming pace, scoring 50 or more points in three consecutive games for the first time since 1890 when famous poet Edgar Allen Poe was the captain of the Tigers football team.

Led by Tigers quarterback Chad Kanoff, who was 20-for-20 in the first half and finished with 421 passing yards, Princeton blew out Harvard by five touchdowns and is in the hunt for another Ivy League title.

Wide receiver Jesper Horsted had the third most receiving yards in school history, 246, on 13 catches. He also had a pair of TD receptions and threw a touchdown pass to snare the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of Week 8.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson plunged over from 1 yard out in overtime to propel Northwestern to its second victory in a row. The Wildcats edged Iowa in a defensive battle at home to get back to .500 in the Big Ten and are 4-3 overall.

Georgia Tech outscored Wake Forest 25-3 in the second half to rally from a four-point halftime deficit at home. The Yellowjackets’ duo of quarterback TaQuon Marshall and halfback KirVonte Benson combined to rush for 299 yards and three touchdowns on 49 carries.

Colgate freshman quarterback Grant Breneman threw a pair of touchdown passes and rushed for two more as the Raiders thumped Holy Cross on the road. Breneman completed 16 of 24 passes for 222 yards and chipped in another 36 on the ground to account 258 of the Raiders’ 419 total yards. Colgate’s defense came up with four turnovers, including three interceptions, and limited Holy Cross to fewer than 300 total yards.

Fordham limited Georgetown to fewer than 250 yards and only one touchdown to register victory No. 2 of the season. Quarterback Luke Medlock threw for 258 yards and a score to pace the Rams offense.

WEEK 8 SCOREBOARD