Uplifting Athletes announces Horizon Therapeutics plc as Exclusive Sponsor to help Tackle Rare Disease at the National Football League (NFL) Scouting Combine

NFL Draft prospects participating in Reps For Rare Diseases will help raise funds for research and awareness programs

Horizon will match pledged donations through the company’s #RAREis Program

DUBLIN and PHILADELPHIA — Feb. 11, 2020 — Horizon Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: HZNP) and Uplifting Athletes today announced a new partnership for the 2020 Reps for Rare Diseases campaign, which offers an opportunity for NFL Draft prospects to give back and support the rare disease community. Participants who team up with Uplifting Athletes will dedicate their performance in one event – bench press, vertical jump or broad jump – at the NFL Scouting Combine or their school’s official pro day, to raising funds for rare disease research and awareness initiatives. 

Donations can be made at each athlete’s individual Pledge It page and benefit Uplifting Athletes, an organization who inspires and develops champions for rare diseases through sport. Horizon will match donations up to $35,000 through its #RAREis program, which is dedicated to providing individuals living with rare disease and families access to resources that connect, inform and educate as they navigate their daily lives. 

“As a rare disease patient and an athlete, sports have played an integral role in raising awareness for rare diseases,” said Rob Long, executive director, Uplifting Athletes. “Horizon’s support enables us to further our mission by engaging more athletes to have a greater impact on the rare disease community this NFL Draft season. It gives hope to the 25 to 30 million Americans impacted by rare disease.” 

There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases and less than five percent have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatment options. Reps for Rare Diseases brings together the rare disease and athletic community to increase awareness and to ultimately raise funds that will further research for new medicines to address the high unmet needs in rare disease. 

“As a company that is deeply committed to the rare disease community, we look to partner on creative campaigns that engage more people in understanding rare diseases and further research efforts,” said Matt Flesch, vice president, communications and patient advocacy, Horizon. “This partnership with Uplifting Athletes compliments our #RAREis program, enabling us to work together to call attention to and support the many faces, voices and experiences of the rare disease community among a broader audience.” 

Uplifting Athletes’ Reps for Rare Diseases raised more than $45,000 in 2019, with 56 participants from 21 Division I football programs. Already, more than 50 athletes have joined the 2020 campaign. 

Fans and the community can pledge their support to an athlete with a specific dollar amount for every rep completed or inch jumped in the selected activity. Each supporter’s total contribution is determined by the number of reps completed or inches jumped in the player’s combine performance or official pro day workout. All funds raised will support Uplifting Athletes’ mission to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport and fund research, awareness and leadership programs. 

To learn more about the Reps for Rare Diseases program and the participating athletes, visit the Uplifting Athletes website, www.UpliftingAthletes.org. 

About Uplifting Athletes

Founded in 2007, Uplifting Athletes fulfills its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport with a powerful network of over 20 college football student-athlete led chapters, Uplifting Ambassadors and Team UA participants. Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $5 million to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders. 

About #RAREis

In February of 2017, Horizon launched the #RAREis program aimed at elevating the voices, faces and experiences of people living with rare diseases, as well as highlight programs and resources for the rare disease community. The program is anchored by an Instagram page and website that showcases photos and stories of people touched by rare disease and captures elements of their patient, caregiver or advocate experience. To learn more, visit the #RAREis Instagram page and visit the website at www.RAREisCommunity.com. 

About Horizon

Horizon is focused on researching, developing and commercializing medicines that address critical needs for people impacted by rare and rheumatic diseases. Our pipeline is purposeful: we apply scientific expertise and courage to bring clinically meaningful therapies to patients. We believe science and compassion must work together to transform lives. For more information on how we go to incredible lengths to impact lives, please visit www.horizontherapeutics.com, follow us @HorizonNews on Twitter, like us on Facebook or explore career opportunities on LinkedIn


U.S. Media Contact:

Michelle Rivas

Manager, Rare Disease Communications and Social Media


Ireland Media Contact:

Gordon MRM

Ray Gordon


Uplifting Athletes:

Brett Brackett


39 Uplifting Athletes Chapter Leaders put through paces in Atlanta during 11th annual Leadership Development Conference

The cornerstone of the Uplifting Leaders program is our network of Chapters on campuses across the country led by college football student-athletes.

This past weekend, 39 leaders from 20 schools gathered in Atlanta for a high impact and fast paced weekend of learning and development during our 11th annual Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference.

The 2020 conference provided an opportunity for our Chapter leadership to develop relationships that stretch beyond the football field, to absorb enhanced mission and vision insight based on Uplifting Athletes’ four programs – Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders – and to plot a chapter strategy for 2020.

“The difference for me this year was it’s a new group of guys mostly, but you establish similar quality of relationships,” said Clemson Chapter leader and Tigers’ long snapper Jack Maddox, who was attending his second conference. “I have a year of experience now, so I know more about what’s going on. I’m not overwhelmed as much and I know what we can and can’t do at our chapter. It’s such a valuable weekend.”

Following a meet-and-greet dinner Friday night, the conference kicked off Saturday with a full day of programming. Four breakout sessions led by Uplifting Athletes staff were followed by an “entering the real world” question-and-answer session with former college athletes.

The highlight of Saturday was the Uplifting Experience at the College Football Hall of Fame where 24 rare disease patients, caregivers and families were connected with the Chapter leaders to spend a couple hours experiencing the Hall of Fame together.

“I loved that the athletes had an opportunity to meet individuals with rare diseases outside of a hospital setting,” said Carol Unger, whose 32-year-old son Matthew is diagnosed with the ultra rare disease WAGR Syndrome. “I feel it is important to note that our children grow up, although some may still be at the maturity level of a 7 or 8 year old, and cherish those opportunities to meet with folks from the outside world.”

The first day of the conference closed out with a work session on three of Uplifting Athletes’ main events – Lift For Life, Reps For Rare Diseases and Touchdown Pledge Drive.

“Since Penn State is such an established chapter, my journey here is to learn what else can we do next to help support the Rare Disease Community,” said Penn State Chapter leader and long snapper Chris Stoll, who is in line to be the next PSU Chapter President taking over for quarterback Sean Clifford.

“I’m very excited to be more involved at another level. Sean did a great job and put a lot into it. But he’s our starting quarterback now and that’s a big job. I’m pumped to be here again and to meet so many guys who have passion for the rare disease cause and for using their platform to make a difference. And I’m very excited to get more involved at the next level.”

Sunday started with Dr. David Fajgenbaum, a former Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft grant recipient, founder of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and rare disease research pioneer, sharing his story via a live video conference.

The conference wrapped up with some additional highlights of Uplifting Athletes’ programming that is available to support the rare disease cause and a work session to kick off 2020 at the chapter level.

A special thank you to all our sponsors and supporters who made this conference possible, Deloitte, Sanofi Genzyme, Jean Campbell and JFC Consulting and the College Football Hall of Fame. With your help, these young men are making a difference in the Rare Disease Community.

Uplifting Athletes to host third annual Young Investigator Draft presented by CSL Behring on March 7 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia

Uplifting Athletes, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that inspires the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport, announced plans today for the third annual Young Investigator Draft, presented by CSL Behring, taking place on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL).

The football theme of the Young Investigator Draft is inspired by the NFL Draft. Instead of drafting emerging young football talent, this unique draft turns the spotlight on the next generation of promising young medical researchers who are “drafted” and awarded research grants by Uplifting Athletes in order to help them pursue new treatments and potential cures for many of the world’s rarest diseases. 

“The Young Investigator Draft serves as a powerful celebration of research within the field of rare diseases, providing a platform to distribute research funding to up-and-coming young researchers and honoring our ‘Rare Disease Champion Team’,” says Rob Long, Executive Director of Uplifting Athletes. “We’re proud to have already awarded $180,000 in grants over the past two years alone and look forward to continued success. With every new year, we discover brilliant young researchers who help us learn more about these underserved diseases.”

“CSL Behring is proud to continue sponsoring this innovative program that supports emerging science and rare disease research,” added Kevin Kovaleski, Vice President, Global Commercial Development, Transplant, CSL Behring.  “The Young Investigator Draft reinforces our promise to patients by empowering researchers to focus on the rare disease community.”

Uplifting Athletes and its annual Young Investigator Draft focus on rare diseases because they are often underserved and so diverse.  Rare diseases are so prevalent that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by rare diseases. That’s a higher percentage than cancer and AIDS combined. Additionally, they transcend gender, race, age, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, due to the large variety and complexity of rare diseases, there is very little support for rare disease research, especially compared to funding for more common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Uplifting Athletes exists to close this significant funding gap. 

Uplifting Athletes emphasis for the 2020 Young Investigator Draft is on building greater audience participation for the draft event on Saturday, March 7, 2020, as well as inviting more medical research-related corporate sponsorship and involvement in the event. By doing so, Uplifting Athletes believes it can help transform the way society views, engages with and supports the research that will benefit many future generations. Please visit the Young Investigator Draft Facebook event page to participate in the draft.


Founded in 2007, Uplifting Athletes fulfills its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport with a powerful network of over 20 college football student-athlete led chapters, Uplifting Ambassadors and Team UA participants.

Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $5 million to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders. To learn more, please visit upliftingathletes.org

About CSL Behring

CSL Behring is a global biotherapeutics leader driven by its promise to save lives. Focused on serving patients’ needs by using the latest technologies, we develop and deliver innovative therapies that are used to treat coagulation disorders, primary immune deficiencies, hereditary angioedema, respiratory disease, and neurological disorders. The company’s products are also used in cardiac surgery, burn treatment and to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn.

CSL Behring operates one of the world’s largest plasma collection networks, CSL Plasma. The parent company, CSL Limited (ASX:CSL;USOTC:CSLLY), headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, employs more than 25,000 people, and delivers its life-saving therapies to people in more than 70 countries. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit Vita CSLBehring.com/vita and follow us on Twitter.com/CSLBehring

Uplifting Athletes Media Contact: 

Frank Keel 

Office: +1 484 410 4932 

Email: Keelcommunicationsllc@gmail.com

CSL Behring Media Contact

Jennifer Purdue

Office: +1 610 878 4802

Mobile: +1 610 306 9355

Email: jennifer.purdue@cslbehring.com 

Kent State posts first bowl game victory in program history and eight teams highlighted in Chapter Bowl Season Update

Kent State needed four tries to get the first bowl victory in school history. The Golden Flashes, making their first bowl appearance since 2012, upended Utah State in the Frisco Bowl to not only record the first bowl win for the program, but also record its first winning record in seven seasons.

Kent State won its final four games of the season to finish 7-6 overall. Sophomore kicker Matt Trickett drilled five field goals in the 10-point victory to give him 29 field goals this season. It was the third game Trickett posted four or more field goals in a game and his five made kicks is the most by a MAC player in a bowl game since 2013. Kent State Chapter President Antwan Dixon, a member of the 2019 Rare Disease Champion Team, had a career-best 99 receiving yards and recorded his first touchdown of the season.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a record breaking outing to outgun Memphis in the Cotton Bowl and post their third 11-win season in the last four years. Led by redshirt sophomore running back Journey Brown, Penn State rolled up 396 rushing yards – the most ever in a bowl game for the Nittany Lions. Brown had a career-high 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 202 yards is the most by a Penn State running back in its storied bowl history – surpassing the 194 yards posted by Saquon Barkley in the 2017 Rose Bowl. Brown’s record performance earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Bowl Season. Penn State’s seven total touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns both tied Cotton Bowl records. Sophomore All-American linebacker Micah Parsons tied a career-high with 14 tackles. He also had 3.0 tackles for a loss, 2.0 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles to earn Defensive MVP honors for the game.

Notre Dame: A convincing 24 point win over Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl gave the Fighting Irish back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time since 1988-1989. Sparked by a balanced offense and another stingy effort from a Notre Dame defense that recovered a pair of fumbles in the game to give them an FBS-best 19 on the season, the Irish grabbed control early and never let the Cyclones have a say in determining the outcome. Notre Dame Chapter Leader Drew White finished with five tackles in the game. The linebacker ended the season tied for first in tackles with 80.

Clemson: For the third time in four years the Tigers will play for the College Football Playoff National Championship. The defending champions won their record 29th straight game, rallying from a 16-point deficit in the first half to edge Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Clemson will play No. 1 seed LSU for the title on Monday, January 13 in New Orleans. Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence accounted for 366 total yards and three touchdowns, including a career-high 107 rushing yards. The Clemson defense sealed the victory with a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions – including a Nolan Turner pick in the end zone with less than a minute remaining. Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields had thrown only one interception all season before the National Semifinal.

Western Michigan: The Broncos saw Western Kentucky kick a pair of field goals in the final two minutes – including a game winner from 52 yards out with no time left on the clock – to claim the First Responder Bowl. Western Michigan senior cornerback Kareem Ali, a transfer from Temple, picked off a pass in the second quarter and returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. Ali’s pick-six, the first interception of his career, was the first interception ever returned for a touchdown by a Bronco in a bowl game. The 88 yards he covered is the most for an interception return by any Mid-American Conference (MAC) player ever in a bowl game – surpassing the previous mark by 32 yards. The three-point loss dropped WMU to 7-6 overall for the season.

Illinois: Making its first appearance in a bowl game since 2014, the Fighting Illini fell to California in the Redbox Bowl – the first bowl game appearance for Illinois since 2014. Turnovers fueled the Illini as they had a program-best 28 takeaways during the regular season. Despite outgaining Cal 450-395, the Illinois defense did not produce a single turnover for the first time all season. Junior punter Blake Hayes had five punts for 208 total yards with a long of 55 yards and dropped four of those five boots inside the 20-yard line. Hayes owns three of the top 11 single-season punting averages in Illinois history and no fewer than six single-season program punting records. Illini senior linebacker Dele Harding had six tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss in his final game. Harding finish his senior year with 153 tackles to finish sixth on the Illinois all-time list for a single season and the most by an Illini player in the last 25 years.

Florida State: The Seminoles had nearly 200 more yards of total offense than Arizona State in the Sun Bowl, but Florida State was undone by six turnovers that the Sun Devils converted into 14 points on their way to a seven-point victory. Seminoles redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tamorrion Terry had a career-best nine catches and 165 receiving yards including a 91-yard catch-and-run touchdown.That 91-yard touchdown catch was the longest passing play in Sun Bowl history (86 years). Terry’s six touchdown catches this season of 60 or more yards ties him with Oklahoma All-American Dede Westbrook in 2016 for the most in a season nationally since at least 2010.

Baylor: For the third time in seven years, the Bears went to a bowl game with 11 wins and chance to register 12 victories for the first time in program history. Undone in the first half of the Sugar Bowl by a dominant Georgia squad, Baylor fell behind 19-0 and despite a strong second half never fully recovered and ultimately fell to the Bulldogs by 12 points. Still, only two years removed from a 1-11 season, playing in a New Year’s Six Bowl with a chance to make program history was not on the Bears’ radar when the season kicked off.

Beyond The Trophy: Get to know Clemson Chapter Vice President and long snapper Jack Maddox

Each 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: Jack Maddox

College: Clemson University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 225-pounds, redshirt sophomore, long snapper

High School: Acton-Boxborough Regional in Acton, Mass.

About Jack: A two-time Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Honor Roll selection, Jack has appeared in a dozen games on special teams the last two seasons for the Tigers after a redshirt year in 2017. He made his collegiate debut against NC State in 2018 and this season has appeared in 10 games for Clemson on special teams. This season against NC State he recorded his first fumble recovery on a muffed punt. Jack became a chapter leader at Clemson following the 2018 season. He took over the role of Vice President for the Clemson Chapter and assisted in landing NFL prospects to be part of Reps For Rare Diseases 2019 and helped oversee the Tigers’ Lift For Life in the summer. Jack attended the Leadership Development Conference in January of 2019 and is making sure the defending National Champions use their platform as college football student athletes to serve and inspire hope in the Rare Disease Community.

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

MADDOX: Winning the National Championship in 2018.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

MADDOX: The opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

MADDOX: How influential the platform of college football is to serve and bring attention to the Rare Disease Community.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

MADDOX: Dream big and work hard. It is only unthinkable if you don’t think it.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

MADDOX: Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys. One of the best tight ends of all time and does so much off the field.

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

MADDOX: Arnold Palmer. I would love to talk golf and get to know one of the most beloved men in sports.


What is your perfect pizza?

MADDOX: Pepperoni and mushroom

All time favorite movie?

MADDOX: Christmas Vacation

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

MADDOX: McDonald’s

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

MADDOX: Dallas Cowboys

What is the most used app on your phone?


Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Colgate Chapter President and running back Triston Fairchild

Each 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: Triston Fairchild

College: Colgate University

Height, weight, class, position: 5-10, 205-pound, senior, running back

High School: Papillion Lavista South in Papillion, Neb.

About Triston: For three years Triston has been a reserve running back for the Raiders with limited carries. His biggest production for Colgate has been on special teams. His coach called him a player” who always gave his best effort and did everything to make us better.” After participating in the Colgate Lift For Life twice, Triston took on a leadership role for the second oldest chapter in the Uplifting Athletes network. He attended the 2019 Leadership Development Conference and armed with a commitment to support the Rare Disease Community helped guide the 2018 Patriot League Champion Raiders to a successful 2019 Lift For Life as the Chapter President.

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

FAIRCHILD: My most memorable experience was beating JMU in the 2018 FCS playoffs to advance to the quarterfinals. JMU was a strong team and we accomplished a lot for the program that year.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

FAIRCHILD: My immediate family has recently been affected by a rare disease, so I found that it was a great opportunity to use my platform as a college football player to help raise awareness and money for the cause.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

FAIRCHILD: Uplifting athletes has taught me that people care about the rare disease community and that when a program rallies together around a cause, change can be made for the betterment of those affected with a rare disease.

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

FAIRCHILD: I would tell them to trust the process, there are always kids who play early and then there are late-bloomers, and that’s alright. One thing you cannot do is give up your self-confidence as a player as you transition to an elite level of talent.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

FAIRCHILD: Christian McCaffrey because his running style is so balanced and he is a fluid runner. As a runningback, I admire the combination of speed, balance, and power that he brings to the table and because Marshawn Lynch retired.

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

FAIRCHILD: I would choose to have lunch with Mac Miller because he was a very influential artist and creative person, I feel like he would be a lot of fun and would be able to have good conversation.


What is your perfect pizza?

FAIRCHILD: Thin crust meatlovers

All time favorite movie?


What is your go-to fast food restaurant?


Favorite sports team (any sport)?

FAIRCHILD: New York Yankees

What is the most used app on your phone?

FAIRCHILD: Instagram