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.

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.

YID MAILCHIMP 1

-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

 

 

Dramatic last-second FCS playoff victory by Colgate highlights Week 14 Chapter Update


Colgate Weekly NewsletterColgate hosted its first playoff game in 15 years, and the wait was well worth it.

Junior kicker Chris Puzzi set a school record with his 15th field goal of the season – drilling a 38-yard kick just inside the right upright as time expired to win it for the Raiders.

Next up for the No. 8 seed is a road game against perennial NCAA FCS powerhouse North Dakota State in Fargo.

The winning field goal was Puzzi’s third of the day and moved him past Jonah Bowman into the No. 1 spot for field goals made in a single season.

Colgate’s 23-20 triumph over No. 6 James Madison is win No. 10 on the season for the Raiders and marks only the fourth time in program history a team has reached double-digit victories.

In a game where neither team led by more than seven points, Colgate was afforded the last chance at victory when it stopped JMU on a fake-punt attempt at the Raiders 41-yard line with 2:46 to play.

Two plays later sophomore quarterback Grant Breneman, who saw his first action in a month after an injury, hit Owen Rockett with a 26-yard strike to put the Raiders well inside Puzzi’s range. Breneman finished with 223 total yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns. But he was 8 of 11 for 130 yards with a TD pass and a rushing touchdown in the second half.

Colgate’s record setting defense came up with five interceptions, led by Tyler Castillo snaring a pair of picks.

Clemson: The undefeated and College Football Playoff bound Tigers became the first school in ACC history to win four consecutive titles outright by rolling over Pitt in the championship game 42-10. Travis Etienne rushed for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns on only 12 carries to pace the Clemson. The Tigers defense, shredded for more than 500 passing yards the week prior in a victory over rival South Carolina, limited the Panthers to 8 yards through the air.

Northwestern: Despite scoring back-to-back touchdowns on consecutive possessions to start the second to trim Ohio State’s lead to a field goal, the Wildcats came up short against OSU in the their first appearance in the Big Ten Championship game. Northwestern had a season-high 10 tackles for a loss and averaged 6.1 yards per play offensively, but it still wasn’t enough against the firepower of the Buckeyes.

Penn State: Current chapter leader and former Penn State Chapter President Trace McSorley is one of 13 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy who will be in New York City Tuesday night to find out who wins the annual scholar-athlete award presented by the National Football Foundation. McSorley has one final game to quarterback for the Nittany Lions and will leave Happy Valley as the most decorated quarterback in school history. The senior from Virginia, whom most FBS schools recruited as a defensive back, holds Penn State’s career records for: passing yards (9,080), passing touchdowns (71), total offense (10,590), rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (27), touchdowns responsible for (98), 300-yard passing games (10) and 200-yard passing games (26).

Illinois: Senior offensive lineman and Chapter President Nick Allegretti wrapped up his stellar Illini career and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Allegretti, a finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award, made 37 consecutive starts and logged nearly 2,500 snaps to complete his Illinois resume. The football program recently honored Allegretti by awarding him the Service Above Self Award for his commitment to giving back. In addition to being a finalist for the Rare Disease Champion Award, Allegretti is a 2018 Jason Witten Man of the Year semifinalist, 2018 Campbell Trophy semifinalist, 2018 Senior CLASS Award candidate and is a two-time Wuerffel Trophy nominee and AFCA Good Works Team watch list honoree. He was also a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy as a top scholar-athlete.

Princeton: Senior quarterback John Lovett claimed the Ivy League’s 2018 Football Offensive Player of the Year. This is the second time in three years Lovett has claimed the award. Lovett is the fifth two-time winner of the Bushnell Cup, joining an esteemed club that includes Cornell’s Ed Marinaro (1970-71), Yale’s John Pagliaro (1976-77), Harvard’s Carl Morris (2001-02) and Harvard’s Zack Hodges (2013-14). He is the 12th Bushnell Cup winner from Princeton and the third-straight Tiger quarterback to be named Offensive Player of the Year (John Lovett, 2016; Chad Kanoff, 2017).

Uplifting Athletes has eight teams that will play at least one more game before their 2018 season is complete. Notre Dame and Clemson are two of the four squads in the College Football Playoff and Penn State (Citrus), NC State (Gator), Northwestern (Holiday), Syracuse (Camping World), Baylor (Texas) and Western Michigan (Famous Idaho Potato) are headed to bowl games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special day on campus for Princeton-Penn rivalry game involves Rare Disease Community


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You could feel the electricity in the air Saturday on campus as the Princeton football team prepared to host rival Penn in the final game of the season.

The Tigers were on the cusp of an undefeated season and claiming the Ivy League championship.

Saturday was also a special day for the Rare Disease Community inside Princeton Stadium.

The leaders of the Uplifting Athletes chapters at each university picked this match-up to serve as a Rare Disease Awareness Game to show their ongoing support for the rare disease cause.

Players from each team wore Uplifting Athletes stickers on their helmets and pulled on blue #WeTackleRare wristbands in a show of unified support for the Rare Disease Community each chapter champions.

And with the help of Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long and Director Sports Impact Brett Brackett, the Masciantonio family from The For The Love Of Grace Foundation was able to attend their first college football game together.

It was a busy Saturday in Princeton, New Jersey.

Gianna Masciantonio is a 4-year-old rare disease patient who is diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Her parents, Joe and Kristen, started the For The Love Of Grace Foundation in honor of their daughter.

“We wanted to help others in the same situation,” Kristen Masciantonio said. “We give 100 percent of what we raise to research and to help families. We don’t have any overhead. I mean, who can you not help other families, right?”

In between the first and second quarters Gianna, her older brother Dominic, Joe and Kristen and Uplifting Athletes staff were recognized on the field as an extension of the hard work Princeton and Penn football programs put forth to support the Rare Disease Community.

“People just don’t fully understand what families like ours and others like ours go through,” Kristen Masciantonio said. “This is an important part of the support we need to feel. Support is important.”

Princeton went on to beat Penn to complete their perfect season and hoist the trophy as Ivy League champions. On the field they are competitors, but off the field the Tigers and Quakers football student-athletes share a common bond of shining a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community.

Thank you to the athletic departments at Princeton and Penn for supporting the football student-athletes of each chapter to make this a special day that extends well beyond 60 minutes of football.

 

 

Princeton Tigers complete perfect season highlights Week 12 Chapter Update


PRINCETON GRAPHICPrinceton finished off its first perfect season since 1964 and earned the 2018 Ivy League title with a victory over rival Penn in front of nearly 8,000 fans.

The victory clinched the fourth outright Ivy League title in program history, and the first since 1995. It was also the program’s second 7-0 Ivy season since league play officially began in 1956.

Princeton raced out to a 21-0 lead before Penn battled back with a score just before the half and on its opening possession of the third quarter to slice the deficit to 21-14.

The second touchdown of the game made the 2018 Princeton Tigers the highest scoring offense in Ivy League history. Princeton finished the season with 470 points, surpassing the previous record of 437 points, set by the 2013 Tigers Ivy League championship team.

Teams from the Ivy League are not eligible for the NCAA FCS playoffs. Princeton ended the regular season as the second-ranked scoring offense, the third-ranked total offense and the sixth-ranked rushing offense in the FCS.

Princeton QB John Lovett put up nearly 400 yards of offense and set an Ivy League record to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor

Colgate: For the first time since 2003, the Raiders will host a home playoff game. Colgate dropped its regular-season finale with now nationally ranked Army by two touchdowns. But the 9-1 Patriot League champion Raiders earned a No. 8 seed from the NCAA FCS football playoff committee. Colgate has a bye in the first round and will host the winner of James Madison vs. Delaware at Andy Kerr Stadium on December 1.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish took a huge step toward securing a berth in the College Football Playoff behind a defense that stymied No. 12 Syracuse at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame limited an Orange offense that had been averaging nearly 500 yards and 44 points a game to less than 250 yards and a late field goal. The Irish D posted three interceptions, six sacks and had 11 tackles for a loss. Notre Dame is 11-0 and closes the regular season with a road game at USC.

Clemson: Despite a slow start offensively, the undefeated Tigers continued their march toward another ACC title and berth in the College Football Playoff with a victory over Duke. Clemson fell behind 6-0, then rallied with a pair of touchdowns in the second and third quarters. Running back Travis Etienne put the game away with touchdown runs of 27 and 29 yards in the third quarter.

Davidson: With four straight losses by a touchdown or less, the Wildcats found themselves in another tight battle with Butler down the stretch. Of those four losses, one game in double overtime and the other three Davidson had the lead with 4:00 to play. The Wildcats defense came up huge this time, stopping Butler four times from inside the 5-yard-line in the final minute for an epic goal-line stand. The victory allowed Davidson to finish 6-5 overall and post its first winning season since 2007.

Northwestern: The Big Ten West champion Wildcats used three rushing touchdowns to subdue Minnesota and in the process earned road victory No. 8 in a row for Northwestern. The Wildcats also improved to 7-1 in conference play for the first time since 1996.

Penn State: Freshman tight end Pat Friermuth caught a pair of touchdown passes and the Nittany Lions defense came up with three takeaways to power No. 15 PSU past Rutgers. The win was No. 30 for senior quarterback Trace McSorley, giving him the school record for victories. In addition, McSorley became just third quarterback in Big Ten history to surpass 100 career touchdowns responsible for, joining Drew Brees (Purdue) and J.T. Barrett (Ohio State) as the only Big Ten quarterbacks to accomplish the feat.

Lehigh: In the 154th meeting with rival Lafayette, the Mountain Hawks used a fast start to grab a 17-0 lead before the game was nine minutes old and never looked back. The Lehigh defense limited Lafayette to 234 total yards and its fewest points since beating Georgetown 35-3 in 2016.

NC State: The Wolfpack scored a season-high 52 points and put up the most points in an ACC road game since they scored 55 at Duke in 2001. NC State wide receiver Kelvin Harmon had seven catches for 100 yards and touchdown. Harmon, a junior from New Jersey, went over 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight season. He is only the third player in school history (Torry Holt, Jerricho Cotchery) to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving twice in his career.

Fordham: Led by defense that improved as the season went along, the Rams closed out the season with a road victory. Antonio Jackson picked off a pass for Fordham and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown just before halftime to put the Rams ahead for good in this low-scoring affair.

Florida State: The Seminoles snapped a three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion by using a big play in the final 2 minutes to rally past No. 22 Boston College at home. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois hit Tamorrion Terry with a 74-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 1:49 to play to put the Seminoles in front for good. This was the Seminoles first win over a ranked opponent since the 2016 Orange Bowl victory against Michigan.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 12 v.'18

 

Nearly 400 yards of offense and Ivy League record earns Princeton QB John Lovett Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week award


LOVETT RPOW GRAPHICThere was a lot on the line Saturday for the Princeton Tigers when they squared off with rival Penn in the final game of the season.

Senior quarterback John Lovett made sure the Tigers reached their goal of a perfect 10-0 season with a stellar record-setting performance against the Quakers.

Lovett put up 378 total yards of offense and accounted for 4 touchdowns in the 42-14 win. His 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter marked his 20th straight game with a rushing touchdown to set an Ivy League record and earned Lovett the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Lovett completed 20 of 28 passes for 255 yards with three touchdowns through the air. He also led the Tigers in rushing with 123 yards on 20 carries and that lone touchdown that gave him the Ivy League record.

Princeton raced out to a 21-0 lead before Penn battled back and sliced the deficit to 21-14 early in the third quarter. Lovett responded by throwing his third touchdown pass of the day to Jesper Horsted and then capped his day with the 5-yard touchdown run to restore the 21-point cushion.

Previous Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week Winners

Week 1: Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 2: William Wicks, Davidson

Week 3: Davidson Wildcats Team

Week 4: Jesper Horsted, Princeton

Week 5: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

Week 6: John Lovett, Princeton

Week 7: Flynn Nagel, Northwestern

Week 8: Shaka Toney, Penn State

Week 9: Eric Dungey, Syracuse

Week 10: Nick Rinella, Saint Francis

Week 11: Colgate Defense

Penn and Princeton football programs team up to make 110th meeting between the rivals Saturday a Rare Disease Awareness Game


PENN PRINCETON RDAG 18 GRAPHICUplifting Athletes is proud to announce that the Princeton and Penn football programs have joined forces for their upcoming 2018 regular season finale to shine a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community.

The chapter leaders from each school, with the support of both universities, worked together to make the match-up between the Tigers and Quakers on Saturday, November 17 at Princeton Stadium an Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Awareness Game.

Rare disease patients, caregivers and families will be in attendance at this traditional rivalry game, and will be hosted by each university to show their ongoing support of the rare disease cause.

Players from each team will have Uplifting Athletes stickers on their helmets and wear #WeTackleRare wrist bands in a show of unified support of the Rare Disease Community each chapter champions.

“In the competitive landscape of college football, Penn Princeton is one of the great rivalries,” Uplifting Athletes General Manager Brett Brackett said. “We were thrilled when our two chapter leaders agreed to put their on-field differences aside to share game day with local rare disease patients, and add another dimension that shows ongoing support for the entire Rare Disease Community.”

During one of the television timeouts during the game, rare disease patients, families and caregivers will be the honored on the field in recognition of the two programs coming together to support one cause.

During the month of October each school participated in the month-long Uplifting Athletes Touchdown Pledge Drive to support the Rare Disease Community. The chapter leaders of each school wanted to extend that opportunity to financially support their Touchdown Pledge Drive to include this rivalry game and make each touchdown scored matter more.

Thank you to the athletic departments at Princeton and Penn for supporting the football student-athlete leaders of each chapter by allowing them to recognize the Rare Disease Community as part of this game.