Saint Francis Uplifting Athletes Community Day featuring Lift For Life will also include a 5K run and Punt, Pass & Kick


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The Saint Francis Uplifting Athletes Community Day featuring the SFU Chapter Lift For Life is scheduled for Sunday, April 30 starting at Noon.

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

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 Saint Francis Chapter is sharing its Lift For Life as part of a Community Day and will also offer a 5K run and a punt, pass & kick event for children. The Punt, Pass & Kick is exclusively for kids in grades K-8 only. The age group breakdowns are by grade: K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.

Kicking off the Community Day is the 5K run at noon. The race is open to runners of all ages and registration is $3 for children ages 12 and under and $5 for adults. The starting point will be the Saint Francis University Science Building.

Following the 5K run at approximately 1 p.m., the punt, pass & kick will take place on the turf inside DeGol Field.

The SFU Chapter Lift For Life featuring student-athletes from the 2017 Red Flash football team will start at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Fans can support the SFU Chapter and its Lift For Life fundraising efforts or register for any of the Community Day events by visiting the Saint Francis Uplifting Athletes Community Day fundraising site.

All proceeds (including registration fees) from the Saint Francis Uplifting Athletes Community Day featuring its 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 Saint Francis 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 Saint Francis Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2012 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led Saint Francis Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of the younger brother of former Red Flash wide receiver Jeff Wasilewski.

Please support the Saint Francis Uplifting Athletes Community Day and help the Red Flash reach their $5,000 fundraising goal.

Thanks for helping the Saint Francis Chapter of Uplifting Athletes tackle rare diseases. Together…We Are…Stronger!

 

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!

 

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!

Pair of Uplifting Athletes Chapter leaders selected as 2016 Campbell Trophy semifinalists


 

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A pair of Uplifting Athletes Chapter leaders have been chosen as a semifinalist for the 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity.

Illinois Chapter President and starting center Joe Spencer and St. Francis Chapter leader and kicker Lance Geesey are among the 156 semifinalists announced by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2, possess outstanding football ability and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

Spencer has been president of the Illinois Chapter for the last three years and has been instrumental is raising the profile of the Illini Chapter in the rare disease community. Spencer has made 28 starts in his career and is on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy (nation’s best center) and Wuerffel Trophy (community service award).

Geesey was an FCS Athletic Directors All-American in 2015 after making 16 of 17 field goals last season and 28 of 29 extra points and has assisted each of the last two years with St. Francis Chapter Lift For Life. Geesey, the 2015 winner of the CFPA Placekicker of the Year Award, was a Preseason All-America selection by College Sports Madness, Football Gameplan, HERO Sports and STATS FCS.

The NFF will announce 12-14 finalists on Nov. 1, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 6.

St. Francis Chapter ready to host Touchdown Pledge Drive for home opener Saturday against Malone


saint-francis-td-pledge-graphic-16There should be some sort of Road Warriors Award for the 2016 St. Francis football team. The Red Flash opened the season with four consecutive games on the road and logged some serious miles.

When the Red Flash finally plays its home opener on Saturday, October 1 against Malone, the football teams wants make that day special.

For the home opener against Malone, The St. Francis Chapter of Uplifting Athletes is counting on the offense to put a few touchdowns on the board for its Touchdown Pledge Drive to support the rare disease community.

Each touchdown the Red Flash score against Malone helps the student-athlete led St. Francis 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 Red Flash squad is asking fans to support their efforts by making a pledge through the St. Francis online Touchdown Pledge Drive site.

Proceeds from the St. Francis Chapter of Uplifting Athletes Touchdown 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 St. Francis 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 St. Francis Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2012 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The student-athlete led St. Francis Chapter serves the rare disease community in honor of the younger brother of former Red Flash wide receiver Jeff Wasilewski.

Support the St. Francis Chapter and its efforts to make a difference in the rare disease community by signing up for its Touchdown 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: St. Francis Chapter 2016 Lift For Life Recap


SFU LIFT 1What started out as a chilly and overcast Saturday morning turned into a sun-splashed afternoon for the fourth annual St. Francis Chapter of Uplifting Athletes Lift For Life.

For its 2016 event, St. Francis added a 5K event as part of its Lift For Life in support of the rare disease community through Uplifting Athletes.

Nearly 40 runners participated in the 5K, which started and finished right next to the carnival being put on by the St. Francis Student Government Association, with runners and walkers all finishing before the 1 p.m. Lift For Life event kicked off at DeGol Field.

“Being a small school, growing Uplifting Athletes at St. Francis takes a lot of work. But it’s a great cause and we get to support our former teammate and rare diseases,” said Red Flash center Jimmy Marks, the St. Francis Chapter President.

“I thought it went well today for the 5K being a first-time event. The Lift For Life is always a great event for the team. Doing our part to help others as individuals and a team is important.”

2016 ST. FRANCIS CHAPTER LIFT FOR LIFE PHOTO GALLERY

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

Members of the 2016 St. Francis football team participated in the truck push, fireman’s carry, tire flip, sled push, bench press and tug-of-war in an offense vs. defense competition during the Lift For Life event.

The St. Francis Chapter continued its mission of using college football as a platform to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport by raising more than $3,200 through its Lift For Life.

Uplifting Athletes would like to thank the student-athlete leadership team of the St. Francis Chapter and all the Red Flash fans who supported the 2016 Lift For Life and 5K.

SFU LIFT 2