Uplifting Athletes was officially launched in 2007, and Princeton became the 7th school to form a chapter beginning in 2011.
The Tigers decided to raise money and awareness for aplastic anemia in honor of teammate Jordan Culbreath, who was honored as the 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion.
"It was a no-brainer to raise awareness and money for aplastic anemia," then Chapter President Brandon Glyck said. "There wasn't really an outlet for our team to give back to the community. We found it with Uplifting Athletes especially after seeing what Jordan overcame."
Culbreath, a running back, was sidelined because of an ankle injury in 2009. Several days later Culbrath's life took a dramatic change after admitting he had not felt right in months. Following a series of tests, he was diagnosed aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder.
In a short span his biggest concern went from college classes and football, to battling for his life. Culbreath eventually received immune suppressant therapy treatment from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland - fortunately located close to his house where an expert on the disease was located.
“I had never had a broken finger,” Culbreath said. “This was all a first for me.”
But Culbreath was determined to get back on the field. He was given a clean bill of health six months after treatment and was allowed back in the weight room. Very few people knew of his intentions to try to play again simply because he wasn't sure it would happen. Culbreath spoke to the Tigers' coaching staff at the time and all agreed if he could perform on the field, he could play.
“The whole meaning of football changed for me,” Culbreath said. “It wasn’t about personal goals, it was about getting back on the field.”
Through sheer determination, Clubreath returned to play his senior year and appreciated every minute of playing time. He scored a touchdown his second game back against Lafayette and finished his football career at Princeton with 1,935 rushing yards.
An inspiration to his teammate, Clubreath was named a co-captain in 2010. He was also an inspiration to the rare disease community. By using the blog CaringBridge.org, Jordan was able to reach out to other players, families and complete strangers inspired by his story.
“It definitely meant the world to me to see all these people wishing me well,” Culbreath said.