FRIDAY FEATURES: Davidson Football, Uplifting Athletes

[Music Open] 2018 has seen a resurgence of Davidson
football. From a new head coach to the record shattering performances on the
field, the Wildcats have rejuvenated a fan base and a campus. But not all the
record-breaking has taken place on the field. It all started with a couple of
defensive players with an eye on making a difference. What drew me towards
Uplifting Athletes is what they stand for and what they’re trying to do.
So Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit organization that has chapters
nationwide that uses the power of sport, in our case collegiate football, to raise
money and awareness for the rare disease community. With his classmate in tow,
George Hatalowich and Kevin Stipe went to an Uplifting Athletes conference in
Atlanta last February. The first building block in a new chapter with Davidson. He
had been doing a lot of work previously and just kind of came to me with the idea and
asked me if I wanted to go and I was kind of all about it. Once I got there I kind
of talked to everybody. We workshopped with some other guys that established their
programs with this organization and it was really cool to kind of hear, not just
about their programs, but kind of how we could build ours into a great
chapter here at Davidson. With a new chapter established at Davidson, the Wildcats
held a fundraising event within the team, lift for life,
with the hopes of raising two thousand dollars. It was on that day that the
Wildcats first record under the new era was broken. And we had roughly about 2
and 1/2 weeks to fund raise so we sent out the link through Pledgeit and we were
expecting hopefully to hit our goal within those two weeks. Within 48 hours
we raised more than two thousand dollars. So I got on the phone with Brett and we
established a new goal was roughly about $5,000 and then within the next 72 hours
we crushed that goal. To have two young men from your program approached you
with such an idea and a project it really began to help me understand
really the type of student athletes I was really embarking on working here
with at Davidson. For George the fight against rare disease hits close to home.
Personally I was affected through one of my best friends from home. His name is Tommy
Clark. He had an uncle Tommy Kirchhoff who was a fantastic athlete, played
collegiately at Lafayette and then went on and played with the Eagles for a
period of time. And he was affected by being diagnosed with ALS. Seeing the impact
and the troubles his uncle went through and the effect it
had on such a great family, really kind of hit me deep and I knew that there
was a way somehow for me to make a difference. With the new chapter fully
established on campus the next hope is that the program continues to grow. We
kind of would love to see, not just more money to kind of pull into our
fundraisers, but also more awareness because we got out to, I mean we emailed
tons of people and asked for donations and we were blown away
by the support that we got. But we would love to kind of see, not just who we
reach out to, but the community of Davidson kind of come around this idea
and really make it grow. The future is bright for Davidson football,
not only on the field, but in the community and in the service of helping
others. And in regards to what we’re trying to progress this as a chapter
within these next three semesters is just reaching more out into the
community and just develop relationships with some of the local
Charlotte children’s hospitals as well as maybe connecting with some of the
families with that have a member affected by rare diseases and impacting
them in some way. George and Kevin, man they matched that and then some. That’s exactly who I want to surround our our program with. Young men that want to serve and we
talk about it daily with our team. How do we make those around us better? It’s
something from day one we talked about. We talk about it in the locker room, we
talk about it on the practice field, in the weight room you know and so having a
project like that early on the spring I thought enabled us to really kind of set
that tone for what we want our program to be about and it’s not just
going to be about football. [Music Close]

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