Seeking Nominations for the 2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion

Monday, November 21, 2011
Jaime Fettrow

Uplifting Athletes is looking for our next Champion who may be battling a rare disease, raising money for a rare disease cause or inspiring hope to any one of the 30-million Americans and their families affected by rare diseases. We are now accepting nominations for the 2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion.

The honor of the "Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion" is presented annually to recognize a leader in the world of college football who has realized their potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community. More than 7,000 different rare diseases have been identified affecting a total of nearly 30-million Americans.

To Qualify:

  1. Nominee must be a current member of a college football program (student-athlete, coach, trainer, staff member, etc.) from an NCAA Institution (FBS, FCS, DII, or DIII) or a college football organization.
  2. Nominee has a connection to a rare disease: a) is currently surviving one; b) is raising money for a rare disease, or c) is inspired to advocate for others battling a rare disease. A rare disease is defined as one that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans
  3. Nominee demonstrates great respect for competitors, school, teammates, coaches, and the game of college football.

Selection Process:

Uplifting Athletes will collect the stories of the nominees and conduct interviews with the nominees via phone. Stories of selected finalists will be published online at during the month of February. The winner will be determined by a public vote and announced in conjunction with Global Rare Disease Day on February 28, 2012.

Past Winners:

2011 – Jordan Culbreath, RB, Princeton University: Culbreath was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare disease in which the immune system attacks bone marrow, his junior year at Princeton. Defying most odds, he worked his way back on the playing field his senior year, inspiring his teammates and the rare disease community. Other finalists included: UCLA’s Derrick Coleman, NC State Offensive Coordinator Dana Bible, Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzien and Minnesota Head Coach Jerry Kill.

2010 – Ian Mitchell, QB, Dickinson College (PA): Mitchell raised more than $95,000 in his collegiate career in honor of a childhood friend who passed away from a rare form of bone cancer. He collected donations for yards passed and rushed. Families of children with rare diseases benefited from the money Ian collected. Other finalists included: Villanova’s Matt Szczur, Tulsa’s Wilson Holloway, Penn State’s Tom Golarz and Clemson’s Stanley Hunter.

2009 – Grant Teaff, Executive Director, American Football Coaches Association: Teaff and AFCA raised awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy through their inaugural one-day event in 2008 "Coach to Cure MD," which raised more than $230,000, involved more than 207 schools and 2,675 coaches across the nation.

For more information, please contact Jaime Fettrow at:
To access the nomination form, click the link below:
2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion