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 and lasting impact on their communities

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.


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

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


of rare diseases affect children


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.

$21,064.22 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!

$66,340.76 Amount Raised
57 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.

$33,855.40 Amount Raised
35 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 Tuesday October 16, 2018
Illinois football senior offensive lineman Nick Allegretti is the President of Illinois Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. This story, authored by Logan Hanson, is being re-posted courtesy of FightingIllini.com with permission. Champaign, Ill. – There has been one common trait for the offensive line for the past three seasons for the Illini, number 53 in the […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 15, 2018
Western Michigan scored five second-half touchdowns to storm back from a 14-point halftime deficit on the road to overtake Bowling Green for the its fifth victory in a row after starting 0-2. The Broncos also improved to 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference with the win. Running backs Jamauri Bogan and LaVante Bellamy, along with a […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 15, 2018
Northwestern senior wide receiver Flynn Nagel had a career day for the Wildcats in a wild come-from-behind overtime victory over Nebraska. The Wildcats trailed the Huskers by 10 points with less than 6 minutes to play and rallied for their first home victory of the season at Ryan Field. Nagel played a big role in […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 15, 2018
Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.  Name: Sam Heckel College: Syracuse University Height, weight, class, position: 6-4, 295 pounds, redshirt sophomore, offensive lineman High School: Waukesha West in Waukesha, Wisc. About Heckel: Became a regular along the Orange offensive […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 08, 2018
Illinois has already won more games in 2018 than it did all of last year when the Fighting Illini ran past Rutgers by 21 points on the road. The Illini are now 3-2 overall and the triumph over the Scarlet Knights ended a 13-game losing streak in the Big Ten Conference. Prior to Saturday, the […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 08, 2018
The Princeton offense continued its assault on the school record books in a win over Lehigh that moved the nationally ranked Tigers to 4-0 overall. Pulling the trigger and getting the ball to all the weapons the Tigers possess is veteran quarterback John Lovett. The senior from Wantagh, N.Y. who is in his third season as […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 01, 2018
Undefeated Notre Dame has already handed out a pair of losses to teams ranked inside the top 20 in the country. The No. 6 ranked Fighting Irish used a rock-solid defensive effort to hand previous No. 7 ranked Stanford its first loss of the season. Notre Dame’s defense limited the Cardinal to 229 total yards […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 01, 2018
Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.  Name: Christopher Schilling College: University of Notre Dame Height, weight, class, position: 5-11, 212-pound junior safety High School: St. Thomas Aquinas, Overland Park, Kansas About Schilling: Came to Notre Dame as a highly […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday October 01, 2018
Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery etched his name in the Fighting Irish football record books in a victory over Stanford. Tillery, who started the season at nose tackle but has moved to the three-technique tackle, registered a school-record tying four sacks for the undefeated Fighting Irish. In addition to the four sacks, Tillery also […] Continue Reading »
Posted on Monday September 24, 2018
Colgate had a Bicentennial Blast on Saturday as Raiders kicked off their second century celebration by drubbing Lafayette at home to improve to 3-0 on the young season. All the rage in Hamilton over the weekend to kick off Colgate’s Bicentennial festivities was the throwback uniforms the Raiders wore to honor the Colgate’s famous 1932 […] 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


Scott Shirley
Rob Long
Brett Brackett
Andy Shay
John Trzeciak
Karen Kirkpatrick


Scott Shirley
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


Sat, 10/13/2018 - 14:28
@ upliftingathletes
Uplifting Athletes chapters are on a mission to inspire this Saturday! Every touchdown scored today by our participating chapters means more support for those suffering from #rarediseases. Find your favorite football team at the link in our bio and support the cause today! #wetacklerare ▪️ ▪️ ▪️ ▪️ ▪️ ▪️ 📸 cred: si.com sportspagemagazine.com davidsonwildcats.com fightingillini.com goprincetontigers.com gopsusports.com mcall.com news.fordham.edu penntoday.upenn.edu gocolgateraiders.com
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Sat, 10/06/2018 - 23:18
@ upliftingathletes
Congrats to the @bufootball Chapter on the victory at home against Kansas State today! It was exciting to witness the go ahead last second field goal in person, thanks for having us out to Waco! #wetacklerare
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Fri, 10/05/2018 - 21:59
@ upliftingathletes
Good luck to our chapter schools that kick of their Touchdown Pledge Drive campaigns this weekend. This October every score means more! #wetacklerare
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Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:30
@ upliftingathletes
Great way to wrap up @globalgenes Rare Patient Advocacy Summit with the Rare Champions of Hope Awards! #2018ggsummit #WeTackleRare
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Thu, 10/04/2018 - 23:34
@ upliftingathletes
Good luck to our chapter schools that kick of their Touchdown Pledge Drive campaigns this weekend. Every score means more this October! #wetacklerare . . . 📸 cred: newsobserver.com Dailyillini.com Battle Creek Enquirer Gocolgateraiders.com Lehigh.edu goprincetontigers.com
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Thu, 10/04/2018 - 15:51
@ upliftingathletes
Team UA well represented at #2018ggsummit. Amazing opportuntiy to learn from and network with other rare disease advocates, industry and patients. #wetacklerare
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Fri, 09/28/2018 - 13:09
@ upliftingathletes
This October Uplifting Athletes is proud to work with these chapters to make every touchdown scored mean more support for #rarediseases Check the link in the bio for how you can help! #wetacklerare
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Wed, 09/26/2018 - 13:16
@ upliftingathletes
Uplifting Athletes chapters across the country will be participating in Touchdown Pledge Drive where every touchdown scored during the month of October means more! More support for the #raredisease community, awareness and research! Link to support in bio. (More teams announced Friday)
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Thu, 09/20/2018 - 20:18
@ upliftingathletes
Every touchdown scored in the month of October means more; more support for the #rarediseasecommunity ! Stay tuned to find out which college footballs teams are participating in Uplifting Athletes 2018 Touchdown Pledge Drive...#wetacklerare
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Thu, 09/06/2018 - 16:52
@ upliftingathletes
Congratulations to the @upliftingathletes 2018 Rare Disease Champion @shaquem_griffin being named a week 1 starter for the @seahawks!! #WeTackleRare
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Corporate Champions

CSL Behring