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CONTACT:  Peggy Shaw

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September 17, 2009

Penn State Football Players Raise $88,360 for the Kidney Cancer Association
A check presentation during Saturday’s game will help the group eclipse $400,000 for rare disease research

University Park, PA – Between the first and second quarters of the Penn State versus Temple football game on Saturday, September 19, Uplifting Athletes will present a check to the Kidney Cancer Association for $88,360 – a Penn State chapter record.  The gift was generated by events such as a charity video game challenge and the “Lift For Life,” which are organized by current members of the football team.  Twelve players, Tyler Ahrenhold, Jeremy Boone, Brett Brackett, Nick Delligatti, Mike Farrell, Ryan Gmerek, Jordan Hill, Patrick Mauti, J.R. Refice, Eric Shrive, Mickey Shuler and Graham Zug raised over $1,000 each this year, with Mickey Shuler leading the charge.

Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes’ total contribution now exceeds $400,000 for rare disease research.  The presentation falls on a day when the college football community mourns the loss of NCAA President Myles Brand.  Members of Uplifting Athletes across college campuses will be wearing light blue bracelets in memory of Brand, who died of pancreatic cancer, another rare disease.  Appropriately, Uplifting Athletes accomplishes Brand’s objective to empower these young people to become contributing members of their communities and country.

“Uplifting Athletes is a group of Penn State football players working together in an attempt to raise awareness and funds for rare diseases,” said Brett Brackett, the Penn State chapter president. “These rare diseases affect fewer than 200,000 Americans and consequently little attention is paid to them. As college football players, we believe we are in a position to make a difference. Uplifting Athletes teaches us how a small group of people can make a big impact on the lives of others.”

The National institutes of Health (NIH) have identified over 7,000 different rare diseases, including kidney and pancreatic cancer, affecting a total of nearly 30 million Americans.  “Our active engagement of current football student-athletes creates a voice for the rare disease community,” explained executive director Scott Shirley. “The rare disease cause is a perfect fit for college football.  With an average of 1 out of 10 Americans affected by a rare disease, it is relevant to someone on every team.  With such a wide range of different rare diseases, each team can personalize the cause to them.  And with each disease affecting such a small population, even the smallest contribution can make the biggest difference.”

About Uplifting Athletes: Uplifting Athletes, Inc. is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit organization that benefits the rare disease community through outreach, research, education and advocacy.  Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by current football players on college campuses across the country, including Penn State, Ohio State, Boston College, Maryland and Colgate University – each benefiting a rare disease relevant to their team.

Uplifting Athletes SM, Penn State football team, members including officers Brett Brackett, Jesse Alfreno, Patrick Mauti and Ryan Gmerek, as well as Jeremy Boone, Jordon Hill, Brian Irvin, Christian Kuntz, Evan Lewis, Jared Odrick, Mickey Shuler, Knowledge Timmons and Brandon Ware.

The Kidney Cancer Association (KCA) is a charitable organization made up of patients, family members, physicians, researchers, and other health professionals globally. We fund, promote, and collaborate with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Urological Association (AUA), and other institutions on research projects.  We educate families and physicians, and serve as an advocate on behalf of patients at the state and federal levels.