Chapter Update: Illinois springs the biggest upset of the college football season and nine teams post wins in Week 8


In the past 44 years, Illinois has played 20-plus point favorites 15 times at Memorial Stadium with zero upset victories.

That streak ended on Saturday against Wisconsin. The 31-point underdog Fighting Illini pulled off the biggest upset in college football this season by knocking No. 6 Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Junior kicker James McCourt drilled a 39-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Illini to its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 and made the Badgers the highest ranked opponent to fall to Illinois since 2007.

McCourt’s kick capped a 10-point rally by the Fighting Illini after they fell behind 23-14 with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers played a key role. The Illini converted three takeaways, two fumble recoveries and an interception, into 17 points. McCourt’s game winner came nine plays after Tony Adams’ interception with 2:32 to play.

Josh Imatorbhebhe, a transfer wide receiver from USC who entered the game with a Big Ten-leading five touchdown catches, hauled in a 29-yard TD toss from Brandon Peters with 5:53 remaining to start the comeback.

The Illini put up 24 points against a Wisconsin defense that had allowed only 29 points all season and was coming off back-to-back shutouts. A first-half 48-yard touchdown catch by Donny Navarro snapped a scoreless streak of 148 minutes of game time by the Badgers defense, dating back to September 28.

Lehigh: For the second straight game the Mountain Hawks won in dramatic fashion on the road, pushing their winning streak to three straight and improving to 2-0 in the Patriot League. Devon Bibbens’ four-yard touchdown from Addison Shoup lifted Lehigh past Fordham in overtime. The team appeared headed for a second overtime with an exchange of field goals, but a roughing the kicker call against the Rams gave Lehigh a second chance in the first OT and the Mountain Hawks took full advantage. Shoup’s touchdown pass was his only attempt of the game. He took over for Tyler Monaco after the senior was forced out with an injury in overtime. Zach Davis powered the Rams with 191 rushing yards on 34 carries and forced OT with a 40-yard scamper with 7:25 to play in regulation.

Learn more about Lehigh Chapter Vice President and Defensive Back Divine Buckrham in our Beyond The Trophy series

Baylor: The Bears trailed by 10 early in the third quarter and were still down three early in the fourth quarter before ripping off 21 unanswered points in a 4-minute span to bury Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The victory was only the second for Baylor at Boone Pickens Stadium and moved No. 14 ranked Baylor to 7-0. This was the third time Baylor rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit in the last four weeks. QB Charlie Brewer threw for 312 yards, JaMycal Hasty had 205 total yards rushing and receiving and the defense kicked in a fumble return for a touchdown by LB Terrel Bernard.

Davidson: Junior running back Wesley Dugger had a career day in Jacksonville, Florida that included setting a Wildcats program record. Dugger had a career-best five touchdown as part of a 193-yard outing in the victory over Jacksonville. Those five rushing scores moved Dugger into the No. 1 spot for Davidson career rushing touchdowns with 37. For becoming the Wildcats’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, Dugger earned the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Dugger also moved into third on the all-time school rushing list with 2,940 yards and counting. Davidson Chapter President George Hatalowich finished with five tackles including one tackle for a loss as part of a defense that limited the Dolphins to only 81 rushing yards.

Penn State: Quarterback Sean Clifford, the Penn State Chapter President, was responsible for all four Nittany Lions touchdowns in a tight victory over No. 16 Michigan in front of the fourth-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. Penn State remains unbeaten at 7-0, moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings and beat back-to-back ranked opponents for the first time since 2005. Clifford had a rushing touchdown and three TD passes, including a pair to wideout K.J. Hamler, who finished with 108 receiving yards on six catches.

Saint Francis: The Red Flash defense posted the first shutout for Saint Francis since 2015 and limited Long Island to only 157 total yards. Redshirt sophomore QB Jason Brown tossed three TD passes and finished with 247 yards through the air. Saint Francis’ defense limited LIU to minus-1 yard rushing, racked up 14 tackles for a loss and recorded four sacks. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella chipped in with four tackles and was in on a tackle for a loss.

Princeton: The Tigers scored seven touchdowns and posted 51 points in a near-perfect first half to stay undefeated and run its winning streak to 15 games. At the center of the Princeton storm was QB Kevin Davidson. The senior from California, who leads the FCS in completion percentage at nearly 73 percent, threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns by completing 27 of his 35 attempts. Wideout Jacob Birmelin was the other half of the Tigers’ explosion, registering 11 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

Clemson: Led by a defense forced three turnovers, registered six sacks and limited Louisville to only 263 total yards, the defending National Champion Tigers stayed unbeaten and ran their winning streak to a record 22 in a row. RB Travis Etienne had another monster game with 192 yards on only 14 carries and one touchdown. Etienne averaged 13.7 yards per carry as part of an offense that piled up 551 yards on the road.

Colgate: After seven consecutive setbacks the defending Patriot League champions picked up victory No. 1 of the 2019 season on the road at Cornell. But it wasn’t easy. The Raiders defense had to make a late stand to preserve the one-point win. Defensive lineman Jacob Esarco had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Raiders turned Esarco’s fumble recovery into seven critical points. Colgate’s last victory was in the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs – a span of 322 days.

Chapter Update: Late field goal propels Baylor to 4-0 and 13 teams post Week 5 victories


Baylor redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers missed a 38-yard field goal early in the game, but drilled one from the same distance into a stiff wind with just 21 seconds remaining to propel the Bears to 4-0 overall with the victory in their Big 12 opener over Iowa State.

Late in the third quarter, the Bears led 20-0 before the Cyclones offense caught fire and ripped off 21 unanswered points on three consecutive drives to surge in front with 3:45 to play.

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer rallied his squad with a clutch 13-play, 54-yard drive that set up the winning field goal. Brewer was 7-of-10 on the decisive drive and converted three times on third-down plays.

The Bears have won six straight games (dating back to 2018 season) for the first time since opening the 2016 season 6-0.

Penn State: Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford had a career night and set a school record in only his fourth start. The Penn State Chapter President set personal records for yards passing (398) and completions (26) and he set a school record for passing yards in a half with 287 in the blowout of Maryland. Clifford also scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on the Nittany Lions first snap from scrimmage. The shutout by the Penn State defense was the first at Maryland since 1970.

Penn: Senior running back Karekin Brooks scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs covering 2 and 31 yards to seal a road victory at Lafayette for the Quakers’ first win of the season. Penn was nursing a four-point lead entering the final 15 minutes before Brooks found the end zone twice. He finished with 202 yards on 29 carries.

Brooks’ 202-yard game was the third 200-plus yard game of his career and in the process he became the first player in program history to post three career 200-plus yard games to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: The Victory Cannon will stay in Kalamazoo for the seventh time in the last nine years after the Broncos rolled over in-state rival Central Michigan. The WMU defense limited the Chippewas to 107 rushing yards and shut them out for three quarters. Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill recorded the first sack of his career, his second interception in 2019 and also had a tackle for a loss. 

Lehigh: It took one of the best defensive efforts in recent Mountain Hawks history for Lehigh to post its first victory of the season. Despite being on the field a whopping 37 minutes, the Mountain Hawk defense held Merrimack to minus-25 yards rushing, recorded six sacks, posted two takeaways and the only points Lehigh surrendered was a second-quarter field goal. 

Notre Dame: Behind a defense that posted eight sacks and five turnovers, the Fighting Irish rallied from its first halftime deficit of the season to outscore Virginia 21-3 in the second half in a battle of previously Top 20 ranked teams. Defensive end Julian Okwara led the defense with 3 sacks, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, both of which led to Irish touchdowns. Notre Dame Chapter President Drew White tied for the team-high in tackles with seven including five solo stops.

Saint Francis: A blocked punt set up the Red Flash for the only touchdown of the game in a defensive tussle in Rhode Island with Bryant. In it’s three wins, Saint Francis has only surrendered 14, 13 and six points. In a game that saw the two squads combined for 20 punts, the Red Flash defense limited Bryant to 210 total yards, a pair of field goals and 2 of 17 on third down. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella paced the defense with eight tackles including seven solo stops and a tackle for a loss.

Florida State: Quarterback Alex Hornibook, a graduate transfer from Wisconsin, made his first career start for the Seminoles and threw for a career-high 316 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over NC State. The victory over the Wolfpack marked the first time since 2016 that FSU has posted back-to-back victories in ACC games since the 2016 season.

Learn more about NC State Chapter Vice President Dylan Autenrieth in our Beyond The Trophy series

Stony Brook: Junior quarterback Tyquell Fields scrambled 50 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-down play to score with 11 seconds remaining to give the Seawolves a dramatic come-from-behind road victory in their CAA opener. Stony Brook and Rhode Island combined to score 37 points in the wild fourth quarter that saw URI score a pair of touchdowns in less than 30 seconds inside the final 2 minutes to erase a 10-point deficit.

Syracuse: Quarterback Tommy DeVito, the first-year starter for the Orange, threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive game becoming only the second Syracuse quarterback in program to have multiple four-plus touchdown games during his career in the comfortable win over Holy Cross. Former Orange signal caller Ryan Nassib threw four TD passes in a game four times during his career.

Princeton: Senior quarterback Andrew Davidson, making only his second start for the Tigers, broke the Princeton and Ivy League single-game record for touchdown passes in a game with seven in the victory over Bucknell. Senior wide receiver Andrew Griffin hauled in four of those touchdown passes to tie the 28-year-old school and Ivy League record for touchdowns by a wide receiver in a game. 

Fordham: Rams linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, coming off back-to-back Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors, appears to be a strong candidate to make it three in a row after posting 13 tackles, including 10 solo, a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack in a victory over Richmond. Defensive back Dervin Hylton Jr. knocked down a pair of passes in the end zone in the dying seconds to preserve the second win of the season for Fordham.

Clemson: The defending National Champions made it 20 victories in a row thanks to its defense stuffing North Carolina on a two-point conversion attempt inside the final two minutes to preserve a one-point victory over the Tar Heels. It was the first road victory for the Tigers at North Carolina since 2002.

Get ready for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 coming this October


Every touchdown scored during the month of October by participating members of the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters will help support the Rare Disease Community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by college football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team in their off-the-field efforts by supporting their on-field performance.

“Uplifting Athletes’ college football chapters provide a unique platform to raise awareness for the Rare Disease Community. Touchdown Pledge Drive is an in-season student-athlete led initiative to shine a national spotlight on rare diseases,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett said. “We are grateful to each and every school that is participating this year by spreading awareness and encouraging their fans to pledge per touchdown scored during games in October to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes.”

Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Fordham, Illinois, Kent State, Lehigh, Marist, NC State, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, Saint Francis, Stony Brook,  Syracuse and Western Michigan chapters have each committed to helping Uplifting Athletes Tackle Rare Diseases by participating in Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019.

Fans can simply make a pledge to their favorite college-football student-athlete led chapter for each touchdown they score in October. Then as the games unfold, watch and cheer as each touchdown scored helps raise money to support the Rare Disease Community.

The proceeds from Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

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

Find your favorite Uplifting Athletes Chapter using college football as a platform to shine a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community, and support their efforts by signing up for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 today!

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.

Chapter Update: 13 teams committed to Tackling Rare Diseases open 2019 season with victories


Terrell Johnson hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass with 77 seconds remaining and Trevor Thompson nailed the extra point to help Saint Francis win its season opener in come-from-behind fashion on the road at Lehigh by a point.

The Red Flash victory wasn’t without plenty of late drama, though. Lehigh moved the ball down the field from its own 3-yard-line in the dying seconds and had a 40-yard field goal attempt to win it. Mountain Hawks kicker Austin Henning nailed his first attempt, but SFU had called timeout to ice him before the kick. His second attempt sailed wide right.

Saint Francis Chapter President Nick Rinella came up with the key play of the second half to keep the Red Flash on the comeback trail. After trailing 13-0 at halftime, Saint Francis cut the deficit to 13-7 late in the third quarter. Lehigh answered with a solid drive and was inside the SFU 10 when Rinella jumped a slant route on second down and returned the interception 34 yards.

Learn more about Lehigh Chapter President Jorge Portorreal in our Beyond The Trophy series.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions rolled up the third most total yards in school history – 673 – while limiting Idaho to five first downs and less than 150 total yards in the blowout victory. The Nittany Lions saw five running backs score seven rushing touchdowns, PSU Chapter President Sean Clifford threw for 280 yards and a couple scores in his first career start and the defense totaled seven sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

Stony Brook: Powered by a balanced offense and a stingy run defense the Seawolves won at home for the 10th time in a row. Stony Brook’s defense set the tone when DB Synceir Malone returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown to open scoring in the first quarter.

Syracuse: The nationally ranked Orange rode a defense that posted eight sacks, limited Liberty to minus-4 yards rushing and pitched a shutout to overcome a new-look offense that sputtered at times. It was Syracuse’s first away-game shutout since the Orange won at Tulane (24-0) on Sept. 28, 1991.

Davidson: Running back William Wicks capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to propel the Wildcats past Georgetown. Davidson led 20-0 at halftime before the Hoyas rallied with 20 third-quarter points off a trio of Wildcat turnovers. 

Illinois: New Fighting Illini quarterback Brandon Peters threw for a trio of touchdowns and rushed for another and the Illinois defense limited Akron to fewer than 200 yards in a comfortable and complete victory. This was the 22nd victory for the Illini in a home opener – the fourth longest active streak in the country.

Western Michigan: Senior quarterback John Wassink threw for 368 yards and tied a career-best with five touchdown passes to power the Broncos to an impressive 35-point home victory over Monmouth. It was the third 300-plus yard passing game of Wassink’s career and the second year in a row he reached that number in the season opener after throwing for 379 a year ago against Syracuse.

Clemson: The consensus No. 1 team in the country opened the defense of its National Championship by running past Georgia Tech. Powered by a career day from running back Travis Etienne, the Tigers rushed for 411 yards – the most by Clemson in a season opener since 1957 and the most allowed by the Yellow Jackets since 1975. Etienne rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns. His 90-yard gallop in the first quarter tied for the longest run in school history and is the longest run by a Tiger at Memorial Stadium to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor.

Notre Dame: The final score might say this was a comfortable road opener for the Fighting Irish, but it wasn’t. Notre Dame trailed 14-7 in the first quarter and relied on an 11-yard touchdown run by QB Ian Book just before the half to pave the path to victory. Turnovers were key, as the Irish defense forced five fumbles and recovered three of them.

NC State: New Wolfpack quarterback Matthew McKay became only the third NC State quarterback since 1970 to throw for more than 300 yards in his first career start in their victory over East Carolina. He joins Phillip Rivers (2000) and Harrison Beck (2007) in this exclusive club. McKay totaled 308 yards through the air with a touchdown and also added a pair of rushing scores for an NC State team that is rebuilding. Six players made their first college start and 17 players made their NC State debut including 10 freshmen.

Maryland: New starting quarterback Josh Jackson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, threw four touchdown passes in his Maryland debut to help the Terrapins shatter the school record for points in a half with 56 in the blowout of Howard. 

Baylor: RB Trestan Ebner and WR R.J. Sneed combined to score five touchdowns for the Bears in a rout of Stephen F. Austin at home.

Richmond: The Spiders used 31 first-half points to subdue Jacksonville and record their 14th straight victory in a home opener – a streak that started in 2005 and is inside the Top 10 for FCS schools nationally.

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.”

Seven chapters make for a busy and successful Spring Lift For Life schedule


This was a busy spring with seven chapters holding Lift For Life events in support of Uplifting Athletes and its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

Penn, Stony Brook, Saint Francis, Davidson, Lehigh, Marist and Princeton, all FCS college football programs, recently held their annual Lift For Life events.

2019 Penn Chapter Lift For Life

For the Lehigh and Marist Chapters, 2019 was their inaugural Lift For Life as part of the Uplifting Athletes team.

“Starting an Uplifting Athletes chapter at Marist is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on. I’ve always wanted to get involved in the community and help those who need it and with Uplifting Athletes I believe that’s possible,” said Red Foxes safety and Marist Chapter founder Paul Olivett. “On behalf of Marist and the football team, we look forward to being a part of the many college teams tackling rare diseases.”

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

2019 Lehigh Chapter Lift For Life

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 Davidson Chapter reached a milestone this year when it became only the fourth Uplifting Athletes Chapter to raise more than $10,000 in each of its first two Lift For Life events joining Penn State, Boston College and Notre Dame in rare fundraising air.

“It’s been incredible to see the development and growth of our Uplifting Athletes Chapter at Davidson College,” Davidson Chapter leaders and co-founders George Hatalowich and Kevin Stipe said. “Our success is truly a testament to the players, coaches, and athletic department that bought into the organization and our chapter’s goals.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of Davidson’s Chapter and we can’t thank the Uplifting Athletes organization enough for their continuous support and guidance throughout this entire process.”

2019 Davidson Chapter Lift For Life

The seven events to kick off the 2019 Lift For Life schedule this spring raised more than $50,000 to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

“It is an honor to be able to use our platform to help raise awareness and support the Rare Disease Community through Uplifting Athletes,” Saint Francis Chapter President Nick Rinella said. “We are all proud to be part of a team that is working so hard to tackle rare diseases.”

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.

Lift For Life will continue throughout the summer with the FBS schools kicking their offseason training into high gear along with a couple FCS schools that opted for summer events instead of the spring.

“Uplifting Athletes has given me a humbling and incredible opportunity to help give back to the Rare Disease Community,” Princeton Chapter President and offensive lineman Luke Aschenbrand said. “Meeting rare disease patients who appreciate the effort we put in and are thankful for the outreach of their message makes what we do worth it.

2019 Princeton Chapter Lift For Life