Our Mission

is to inspire the rare disease community with hope through the power of sport. Our vision is to empower people to take action against rare diseases and be a catalyst for the medical community to find cures.

Our Programs

Leverage public interest to cultivate resources that accelerate scientific advancements for rare diseases

Develops social influencers into leaders that make a positive impact on the rare disease community

Uplifting Leaders

Shares the platform of sport with the rare disease cause and raises it as a national priority

Creates special moments that enrich the lives of rare disease patients and their loved ones

Uplifting Experiences

Our Motivation

1 in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with a Rare Disease

A Rare Disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time.

7,000

Approximate number of different rare diseases that collectively affect more than 30 million Americans.

Rare diseases are often chronic, progressive, degenerative and life-threatening.

75%

of rare diseases affect children

30%

of children with a rare disease will not live to see their 5th birthday.

Fundraising Initiatives

Lift For Life

Lift For Life is the original fundraising event that
launched Uplifitng Athletes! The event was
inspired by Don Shirley's battle with a rare
cancer. Now, college football teams across the
country participate in the right-of-passage to
benefit the rare disease community!

$220,963.27 Amount Raised
87 Campaigns
Lift For Life

Touchdown Pledge Drive

Touchdown Pledge Drive brings awareness and helps raise funds while capitalizing on what our students-athletes do best during our most visible time of the year, college football season.

$25,169.68 Amount Raised
15 Teams

UA Ambassadors

The UA Ambassador program empowers individual athletes to support the Rare Disease Community by raising money and awareness with their performance. Opportunities include Reps for Rare Diseases at the NFL Combine and/or Pro Day workouts, the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign, and anything else you can imagine!

$67,122.76 Amount Raised
60 Campaigns
Penn State's Mike Gesicki at the NFL Combine

Team UA

We are inviting athletes from across the country to support our mission by holding a pledge-based event to raise money for Uplifting Athletes. This program is open to all sports and all levels! Simply click create your campaign below to get started and a member of our staff will reach out to you to help make it a success.

$35,363.40 Amount Raised
34 Campaigns

Uplifting Events & Awareness Campaigns

My Cause, My Cleats
Rare Disease Champion
Young Investigator Draft
Reps for Rare Diseases

My Cause, My Cleats

Date: Week 13-15
Location: NFL Stadiums

During a week each NFL season, players across the league support their favorite cause by wearing custom designed cleats representing their cause.

Rare Disease Champion

Date: December 6, 2018
Location: College Football Hall of Fame (Atlanta, GA)

The Rare Disease Champion Award is given annually 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.

Rare Disease Champion

Young Investigator Draft

Date: March 9th, 2019
Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA)

 

Reps for Rare Diseases

Date: February/March
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

Reps for Rare Diseases gives hopeful NFL players an opportunity to share their spotlight with the Rare Disease Community! Learn More

Uplifting News

Posted on Thursday December 06, 2018
Austin Peay State University Offensive Coordinator Joshua Eargle is the 11th winner of the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award. In a public on-line vote that started last month, Coach Eargle outlasted a field of finalists that included: University of Illinois offensive lineman Nick Allegretti; Stanford University linebacker Ryan Beecher; Kent State University wide receiver […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Tuesday December 04, 2018
Colgate hosted its first playoff game in 15 years, and the wait was well worth it. Junior kicker Chris Puzzi set a school record with his 15th field goal of the season – drilling a 38-yard kick just inside the right upright as time expired to win it for the Raiders. Next up for the […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Friday November 30, 2018
We are proud to share that five NFL players have chosen to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause with their cleats. The NFL’s annual My Cause My Cleats kicked off this week and Uplifting Athletes cleats will be worn in NFL games by Cameron Lynch, Riley Dixon, Malik Turner, Garry Gilliam and Zaire […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Wednesday November 28, 2018
The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), is given annually 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 afforded each finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Wednesday November 28, 2018
The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), is given annually 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 afforded each finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Wednesday November 28, 2018
The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), is given annually 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 afforded each finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Wednesday November 28, 2018
The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), is given annually 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 afforded each finalist for the 11th Rare Disease Champion Award […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Tuesday November 27, 2018
Seattle Seahawks rookie wide receiver Malik Turner is passionate about the rare disease cause. He took part in Lift For Life as a member of the Illinois Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Turner also supported his cause by participating in the Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases campaign for his NFL Pro Day. It was during […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday November 26, 2018
Notre Dame submitted its resume to the College Football Playoff committee unblemished after rallying from a season-high 10-point deficit on the road to edge USC and finish the regular season 12-0. This marks the third time since 1998 Notre Dame has finished the regular season 12-0. The Fighting Irish, an NCAA Independent university, is looking […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday November 26, 2018
NC State senior running back Reggie Gallaspy Jr. had a career day against rival North Carolina to power the Wolfpack past the Tar Heels. Gallaspy became only the third NC State running back to record five rushing touchdowns in a game and posted a career-high 129 yards as well. His fourth and fifth touchdowns came […] Continue Reading »

Key Leadership

Chapter Leaders

NC State - Thomas Ruocchio
Penn State - Ryan Bates
Penn State - Steven Gonzalez
Clemson - Kyle Cote
Colgate - Owen Buscaglia
Davidson - George Hatalowich
Florida State - Alec Eberle
Illinois - Nick Allegretti
Maryland - Avery Edwards
Northwestern - Tommy Doles
Notre Dame - Jimmy Thompson
Penn - Cooper Gardner
Princeton - Kurt Holuba
Saint Francis - Mike Ames
Stony Brook - Marc Nolan
Syracuse - Sam Heckel
Western Michigan - Jamauri Bogan

Staff

Scott Shirley/Founder & Strategic Advisor
Rob Long/Executive Director
Brett Brackett/General Manager
Andy Shay/Director of Communications
John Trzeciak/Business Manager
Karen Kirkpatrick/Director of Finance

Board

Scott Shirley/Founder & Strategic Advisor
Keith Deaven
David Wozniak
Kerwin Stetler
Tiffini Grimes

UA Lettermen

Obi Egekeze
Obi Egekeze
Chris Borland
Jake Smith
Jake Smith
Jeff Wasilewski
Jeff Wasilewski
Mark Herzlich
Mark Herzlich
Brett Brackett

#WeTackleRare

Corporate Champions

Deloitte
Strongbridge
Shire
CSL Behring
Mediabarn