Five Champions Named to 2022 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team
PHILADELPHIA – DECEMBER 1, 2022 – Uplifting Athletes is proud to announce the five champions who have been selected as members of the 2022 Rare Disease Champion Team.
Since 2009, Uplifting Athletes has been honored to celebrate individuals from college athletics whose commitment to driving positive change for the rare disease community as part of its Rare Disease Champion Team. Each team member shares their experience to inspire hope for a future where no person impacted by rare disease feels alone.
The full 2022 Uplifting Rare Disease Champion Team:
- JD Bertrand, University of Notre Dame Football, is being recognized for going above and beyond as a rare disease advocate and chapter leader. During his years with the Uplifting Athletes Notre Dame Chapter, the team raised over $54,000 to support Uplifting Athletes’ mission and brought dozens of South Bend locals and the rare disease families together as one community through Uplifting Experiences.
Max Blaschke, Western Illinois University Football, is being recognized for proving that a rare epilepsy diagnosis doesn’t limit opportunities to become a Division 1 collegiate athlete.
Jenny Cape, University of Iowa Women's Soccer, is the first woman and first soccer player nominated and selected for this team. Cape is being recognized for her persevering spirit which overcame two rounds with a rare blood disorder to continue playing the game she loves while raising awareness for her condition.
Tylee Craft, University of North Carolina Football, is being recognized for using his platform as a student-athlete to inspire others throughout his battle with a rare lung cancer.
Aristotle Thompson, University of California Football, is being recognized for his and his family’s work to create a foundation which raises money for medical equipment, including helmets, for children with epilepsy. Coach Thompson shares the story of how epilepsy has impacted his family and raises awareness at a national level.
“As we continue to evolve as an organization so has our Rare Disease Champion Team. We are proud to introduce our most diverse team to date,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long said. “While the team has evolved the impact that the members of our Rare Disease Champion Team have had on the rare disease community has remained steadfast. We are proud to recognize these individuals for utilizing their platform to inspire and provide hope for those around them now, and into the future.”
Inspired by former Boston College and New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich and his public battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, the trophy awarded to each champion features a likeness of Herzlich in recognition of the significant awareness they raised for the rare disease community.
Each member of the 2022 Rare Disease Champion Team will be celebrated during the Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. Registration is now open.
About Uplifting Athletes
Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 that harnesses the power of sport to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases. Since its inception, Uplifting Athletes has raised more than $7 million by engaging athletes in order to positively impact the rare disease community through driving action and funding research. To learn more about Uplifting Athletes visit www.upliftingathletes.org.