Uplifting Athletes to welcome 40-plus college football student-athletes for 10th Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta


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The bedrock of the Uplifting Leaders program at Uplifting Athletes is the college football student-athletes that guide our nationwide network of chapters.

These student-athletes already have the drive and passion to help others and that is why they chose to step up and become chapter leaders to help us serve the Rare Disease Community.

In order to help them become even stronger leaders and advocates, Uplifting Athletes will gather these college football student-athletes together in late January for three days of education, training and networking at the 2019 Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta.

This will be the 10th consecutive year Uplifting Athletes has put together a weekend of intense leadership development and relationship building for current and prospective chapter leaders.

“We are thrilled to host a fantastic group of student-athletes for a three-day conference focused on enhancing life skills, transferable skills recognition, and leadership development through Uplifting Athletes programming,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett said. “Our goal is to provide the student-athletes with the skills necessary to returned to campus empowered to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community.

This year 44 current football players from 22 universities across the country will travel to Atlanta on Friday, January 25 to kick off a busy weekend of engaging work sessions, networking and relationship building.

Among the 22 schools that will be represented in Atlanta, four of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Kent State, New Mexico, Mississippi State and Duquesne have student-athletes attending for the first time.

Current Chapter leaders from Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Florida State, Lehigh, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Syracuse, Illinois, Saint Francis, Penn, Northwestern, Maryland, Princeton, Stony Brook, Fordham and Western Michigan will also be in attendance.

The 2019 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 to interact with local Atlanta area 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.

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.

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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.

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-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

 

 

Northwestern hoists Big Ten West Division crown to highlight Week 11 Chapter Update


NORTHWESTERN LEAD GRAPHICThe Northwestern Wildcats are the 2018 Big Ten West champions and are headed to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game next month.

Northwestern took care of its business by coming from behind to bump off Iowa on the road, then Purdue and Wisconsin both lost to give the Wildcats their first Big Ten division title in school history.

The Wildcats became bowl eligible for the eighth time under head coach Pat Fitzgerald and improved to 6-1 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1996 while extending their road winning streak to seven games – a program best.

Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson made his 914th career completion at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a two-yard toss to sophomore wide receiver Riley Lees to set a school record. He finished the game 15-for-30 with 122 yards and one touchdown.

Catch up with Penn Chapter leader and Quakers wide receiver Steven Farrell in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Clemson: For the fourth time in as many years the Tigers are the ACC Atlantic Division champions. Honestly, though, undefeated and No. 2 ranked Clemson has much bigger aspirations this season. But locking down Boston College at Chestnut Hill was an all-important first step. QB Trevor Lawrence hit eight different receivers and threw for 216 yards in the first half alone. The Tigers defense limited BC to 24 first-half yards and 113 total and had 10 different players credited with at least a portion of a tackle for loss.

Colgate: The Raiders wrapped up the Patriot League crown and remained undefeated by posting the most points they have ever scored in 28 road trips to Lehigh. Colgate finally allowed its first touchdown since Sept. 1, a stretch of 70 days and 29 quarters between TDs. Back-up quarterback Sage Atwood earned a game-time start at quarterback over injured starter Grant Breneman and proceeded to throw for 146 yards and his first career touchdown. The senior also rushed for 61 yards and two more scores – both career highs.

The Colgate Raiders defense put together a historical stand to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honor

Princeton: Sophomore tailback Collin Eaddy rushed for a career-high 266 yards, the most since a Tigers back since former Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Jordan Culbreath went for 276 in the 2008 season finale, to pace Princeton to a wild victory over Yale in the 141st meeting between the two schools. Princeton clinched at least a share of its 12th Ivy League title — as well as its second in three years — and its first 9-0 start since 1964 (when there were only nine games in the season).

Notre Dame: On senior night in South Bend it was a couple of seniors who led the way for the undefeated Fighting Irish against Florida State. Starting in the place of injured junior Ian Book, senior quarterback Brandon Wimbush finished the night with three touchdown passes, 130 passing yards and 68 yards rushing as the Irish jumped out to a quick lead and never relented. Classmate and running back Dexter Williams turned in a career performance in his final appearance at home, rushing for a career-high 202 yards to go with two touchdowns.

Penn State: Sparked by a defense that limited Wisconsin to it lowest point total (10 points) since 2016, the Nittany Lions recorded their 10th consecutive victory over a Big Ten West Division opponent. Running back Miles Sanders rushed for 159 yards and touchdown as the Nittany Lions scored 22 of the final 25 points to beat the Badgers for the fourth straight time.

Syracuse: The Orange exploded for 30 second-half points to overwhelm Louisville at home. Syracuse raised its record to 6-0 in the Carrier Dome this season, the fourth unbeaten home campaign in the building’s history, and they did it in front of a season-high crowd of 42,797. The Orange rushed for 326 yards on the ground and scored 27 unanswered points in an 8:15 span during the second quarter to seize control.

Stony Brook: In a battle of teams ranked inside the FCS Top 15, the Seawolves doubled up Delaware by pounding out more than 400 total yards, compared to only 201 for the Blue Hens, to claim victory. The Stony Brook defense limited Delaware to a field goal. Running back Donald Liotine went for 170 yards on the ground and his 33-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter sealed it.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 11 v'18

October meant much more than six points per touchdown for the Rare Disease Community


TDPD 18 WRAP-UP GRAPHICFor the participating members of our nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters, touchdowns during the month of October meant more than six points on the board. Each touchdown provided support to the Rare Disease Community.

The Touchdown Pledge Drive 2018 month-long campaign took place on 15 university campuses. Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Fordham, Illinois, Lehigh, NC State, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, Princeton, Saint Francis, Stony Brook, Syracuse and Western Michigan all participated.

“I am very impressed with our chapter leaders and how they took advantage of their platform to provide much needed awareness and support to the Rare Disease Community,” Uplifting Athletes Director Sports Impact Brett Brackett said.

Using the on-field performance of touchdowns scored is a simple way for chapter leaders to share the rare disease cause with their fan bases and leverage their platform when they are most relevant. This year the 15 schools combined to score 222 touchdowns in October.

Raising awareness for the cause on behalf of the Rare Disease Community is another pillar of the Touchdown Pledge Drive campaign. With the help of university athletic communications, individual student-athletes and coaches commitment to raising awareness, this year the campaign generated four million impressions on social media.

“We are grateful to everyone who supported this month-long campaign, chapter leaders, coaches, athletic departments and fans,” Brackett said. “Thanks for being part of our team during October and using your performance on the field to have a real impact off the field.”

The direct impact on the Rare Disease Community came through the fundraising for each touchdown scored. And those 222 touchdowns scored raised more than $25,000 to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Illinois, Penn State and Western Michigan chapters were the top three on the fundraising impact leaderboard with the Fighting Illini leading the pack.

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 shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Through Touchdown Pledge Drive our chapters came together as one team each working hard to meet their individual goal in order to help us all Tackle Rare Diseases.

Clemson wins battle of unbeaten chapters schools to highlight Week 8 Chapter Update


CLEMSON GRAPHICClemson and NC State hooked up in a battle of ACC unbeaten squads and the Tigers emerged as the clear-cut favorite to once again win the conference title.

True freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 308 yards and running back Travis Etienne added three touchdown runs to power the Tigers past the Wolfpack.

The Clemson defense limited NC State to fewer than 300 total yards, recorded eight tackles for a loss, one sack, and picked off a pair of passes.

For the third time in four years Clemson has won its first seven games of the season.

Clemson is now the unanimous No. 2 ranked team in the country behind defending National Champion Alabama. NC State dropped to No. 22 with it’s first loss of 2018.

Catch up with Penn Chapter leader Cooper Gardner in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Penn State: The Nittany Lions ended their two-game losing streak by nudging past Indiana on the strength of timely defense and 347 total yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterback Trace McSorley. No. 16 ranked Penn State recorded six sacks and was a perfect 5-for-5 in red zone opportunities.

Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney registered four sacks against Indiana to tie the school record for a single game to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Western Michigan: For the fifth straight year the Broncos are bowl eligible after running their winning streak to six games with a victory over in-state rival Central Michigan. The Broncos are also one of only three MAC teams without a conference loss. Running backs LaVante Bellamy and Jamuari Bogan combined for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries each. Bogan became only the seventh player in WMU history to eclipse 3,000 career rushing yards.

Stony Brook: The FCS No. 17 ranked Seawolves treated their homecoming crowd to a record-breaking show by scoring the most points in school history, 52, in a CAA game. Running backs Donald Liotine and Jordan Gowins, dubbed the “Long Island Express”, each went over 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season, tying the school record. Stony Brook ran 30 more plays (79-49) than Rhode Island and outgained the visitors 460-201.

Syracuse: Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy DeVito came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes, including a pair in overtime, to help the Orange escape the double overtime upset bid of North Carolina. DeVito was inserted into the game late in the fourth quarter with Syracuse trailing by a touchdown (27-20). He completed 11 of 19 passes for 181 yards and his 4-yard toss to tight end Ravian Pierce in the second OT was the game winner.

Princeton: After scoring 45 or more points in each of its first five games, the Tigers used a strong defensive effort to hold off Harvard in a game where Princeton never trailed, but never led by more than two scores. The 6-0 start marks the second time since 1995 Princeton started the season with six wins in a row. The last time was 2006. The key for the Tigers in this one was a defense that produced a pair of turnovers and stuffed Harvard on three drives in the third quarter when the Crimson had opportunities to take the lead.

Northwestern: First-year running back Isaiah Bowser played a huge role in the Wildcats extending their Big Ten road winning streak to six games. Bowser posted a pair of touchdowns including a 5-yard run midway through the fourth quarter that put Northwestern ahead for good. He carried a career-high 24 times for 108 yards. Wildcats defensive tackle Samdup Miller paced Northwestern with eight tackles and has 22 stops in his last two games. The victory was the 11th in the last 12 Big Ten games for Northwestern.

Florida State: Trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, the Seminoles defense came up with a huge fourth-down stop to light the fuse that ended up being a 38 unanswered points explosion for FSU. Quarterback Deondre Francois threw for 341 yards and a couple touchdowns and running back Cam Akers scored twice, including a 58-yard gallop. Florida State’s defense overcame a shaky start to record 11 tackles for a loss and six sacks.

 

 

Western Michigan rallies on the road to win fifth in a row highlights Week 7 Chapter Update


Weekly LeadWestern Michigan scored five second-half touchdowns to storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit on the road to overtake Bowling Green for the its fifth victory in a row after starting 0-2.

The Broncos also improved to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference with the win.

Running backs Jamauri Bogan and LaVante Bellamy, along with a defense that allowed some yards but produced four turnovers, provided the ammunition for the Broncos rally.

Bogan and Bellamy teamed up to rush for 220 of Western Michigan’s 283 yards on the ground. Bellamy chewed up the most yards and Bogan was the finisher for this unstoppable 1-2 punch.

Bellamy had 111 of his season-high 145 yards in the second half when the Broncos put up 199 of their 283 yards on the ground.

Bogan, who finished with 75 yards on 15 carries, scored four of WMU’s six touchdowns for the third four-touchdown performance of his career. The last time he rushed for four TDs in a game was in 2015 when Bogan was named MVP of the Bahamas Bowl.

Western Michigan’s defense forced a pair of fumbles and had two interceptions. Both Bowling Green fumbles that the Broncos recovered were converted into touchdowns.

Catch up with Syracuse Chapter leader Sam Heckel in the latest installment of our Beyond The Trophy Series

Northwestern: Win No. 1 for the Wildcats at home in 2018 took a monumental comeback, as Northwestern had to rally from 10 points down with 5:41 remaining to force overtime at Ryan Field. QB Clayton Thorson engineered a 99-yard drive in the final 2 minutes to force OT and sophomore kicker Drew Luckenbaugh knocked home a 37-yard FG in extra time to win for the Wildcats. This was the second year in a row Northwestern has defeated Nebraska in overtime.

Northwestern WR Flynn Nagel has best receiving day for a Wildcat since 1980 to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week honors

Stony Brook: Sparked by a defense that scored two touchdowns on a 35-yard interception return by TJ Morrison and Shayne Lawless’ 54-yard fumble return, the Seawolves cruised to a road victory at New Hampshire. Sophomore DB Augie Contressa had a career-high 11 tackles, two sacks and forced the fumble that led to Lawless’ return for a touchdown. The two defensive touchdowns staked Stony Brook to a 21-0 lead before the second quarter was 2 minutes old.

Maryland: Terrapins QB Kasim Hill tossed three touchdown passes and RB Ty Johnson ran for 132 yards to power the offense in an easy win over struggling Rutgers. It was the Maryland defense, though, that did the most damage by coming up with five interceptions and allowing only two completions in 17 attempts. The five picks was the most for the Terrapins since they recorded seven interceptions against Duke in 1998.

Colgate: The No. 17 ranked Raiders are undefeated and have a defense that literally can’t be scored on lately. The victory over central New York rival Cornell 31-0 marked the first shutout for Colgate in the series since 1919, and it came in the 100th meeting between the two squads. The Raiders are 6-0 and became the first Patriot League team to post three shutouts in one season. This was also the fifth consecutive game where Colgate’s defense has not surrendered a touchdown. Tyler Castillo capped the day by returning his 11th career interception 58 yards for the final Raiders touchdown.

Fordham: The Rams went on the road and put up a season-high 43 points and 488 yards to subdue Lehigh and claim victory No. 1 for new head coach Joe Conlin. Back-up running back Tyriek Hopkins and Naim Mayfield took over for the injured starters and combined for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

Penn: The Quakers struggled in the red zone, coming away with only 13 points after having first-and-goal five times against Columbia. But thanks to Penn’s defense limiting the Lions to fewer than 300 yards and Ryan Glover’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:55 to play, the Quakers improved to 4-1 overall.

Notre Dame: Trailing visiting Pitt by eight points at halftime, the undefeated Fighting Irish avoided the upset bid by the Panthers when QB Ian Book hooked up with Miles Boykin from 35 yards out with 5:43 to play that capped a 5-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

Princeton: Forced to have Kevin Davidson make his first start at quarterback for the injured John Lovett, the junior had no problems guiding a well-oiled offensive machine. All-Ivy League wideouts Stephen Carlson and Jesper Horsted combined to catch 21 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns against Brown. The Tigers are 5-0 for the first time in 12 years.

Chapter Scoreboard Week 7 copy

Stony Brook Chapter leader and veteran punter Marc Nolan featured in latest Beyond The Trophy series


NOLANEach week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Marc Nolan

College: Stony Brook University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-1, 210-pound senior punter

High School: Blessed Trinity Catholic, Woodstock, Ga.

About Nolan: Prior to this season had played in 34 games for the Seawolves as the No. 1 punter, averaging 37.3 yards per punt with 34 percent of his career punts being downed inside the 20-yard-line. … Nolan has 13 punts in his career of 50 or more 50 yards including a long of 63 against Albany in 2016. He’s averaging 39.0 yards per punt this season and is approaching 10,000 career punting yards. … A highly decorated punter and Magna Cum Laude student coming out of high school, Nolan serves in a leadership role for the Stony Brook Chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

Nolan: My most memorable experience would have to be our last regular season game against Maine in the 2017 season. We were trailing all game and down by two touchdowns going into the fourth quarter. With a couple key stops by our defense, winning the field battle on special teams, and of course a 40-yard Hail Mary as time expired to win the game. This win helped up clinch a playoff spot and a second place finish in the CAA.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

Nolan: One of my closest and longest friends was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left knee when we were in fifth grade. With the help of his mom, my family and I became very involved with The CURE Foundation (sharing his story, sending donations, etc.) My sophomore year in high school, my father and I started a program with CURE called Kickers Kicking Cancer, which was designed for high school kickers throughout the United States help raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. With my previous experiences with CURE, the decision to get involved with Uplifting Athletes was easy.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

Nolan: My experience with Uplifting Athletes has taught me that as an athlete we have a platform that can be used to enhance the lives of others, not just ourselves. As student-athletes we can use our status and the attention placed on us to help influence the lives of so many people that may not have a voice themselves.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

Nolan: My favorite home, game day experience has to be the moment the team is together in the tunnel before the opening kickoff. Smoke goes up, crowd getting loud, and the whole team excited to play- no better feeling.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

Nolan: Benjamin Watson. Being a Ravens fan I wanted to see him do well on the field, but his charitable works off the field are what make him my favorite players in the NFL.

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

Nolan: Neil deGrasse Tyson. I feel like he knows basically everything there is to know about the universe, and I’d love to get the chance to ask him some questions.

What is your favorite road stadium you ever played in and why?

Nolan: Last season (2017) we got to play in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Stadium (Raymond James Stadium) when we traveled to play USF. Large crowd, speakers that shook the stadium, and a giant pirate ship in the background; what’s not to love?

HOT SEAT QUESTIONS

What is your perfect pizza?

Nolan: Pepperoni, bacon, and jalapenos

Last 3 songs you added to your playlist?

Nolan: High on Life- Martin Garrix; Waiting for Love- Avicii, Marshmello; Dreaming- Smallpools, Chainsmokers.

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

Nolan: Chick-fil-A

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

Nolan: Manchester United

What is the most used app on your phone?

Nolan: Snapchat

No. 1 goal for yourself in 5 years?

Nolan: Finish my masters degree