Rare Disease Champion Award

Each February to kick off Rare Disease Month Uplifting Athletes announces the winner of its annual Rare Disease Champion Award.

This award is 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.

At the beginning of the college football season, Uplifting Athletes begins soliciting for and accepting qualified nominees for the award.

A qualified nominee must be a current member of a college football program, student-athlete, coach, trainer, staff member, etc. The individual must be from an NCAA FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III college football institution, or a college football organization.

The nominee must possess a rare disease connection. The individual can be surviving or fighting a rare disease, raising money for a rare disease, or is inspired to advocate for others battling a rare disease.

A rare disease is defined as one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans. And the nominee should demonstrate great respect for competitors, school, teammates, coaches and the game of college football.

Applications are accepted until December 1. Then each qualified finalist is interviewed and a personal rare disease story for all finalists is published on the Uplifting Athletes web site.

The winner is determined by a public online voting that takes place in January and ends at midnight on the final day of the month.

Uplifting Athletes recognizes the winner of the Rare Disease Champion Award at the Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala in March on the live ESPN3 broadcast.