July 16, 2013
• Complete information on Badgers' Lift for Life
By CHRIS BORLAND
One of Wisconsin's most passionate young fans has been in the fight of a lifetime. Darien Moran, an eighth grader on the East Side of Madison was diagnosed and has been fighting a rare disease called Langerhans cell histiocytosis x since 2011.
Unfortunately, many rare diseases affect children. Darien (and his form of autoimmune disease) is an example of a child who not only suffers from a disease, but is disadvantaged from the lack of funding allotted to diseases classified as "rare."
The athletic department, and football team in particular, have spent a great deal of time with Darien this past year, remodeling his room in a Badgers' theme, giving him and his family a tour of Camp Randall, and just spending time with the young man. His spirit is contagious and his attitude towards a diagnosis that would strike fear into the toughest of grown men is inspiring.
Thankfully an organization is helping us share Darien's spirit and inspiration while helping in the fight against Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis X.
Darien loves Wisconsin football, and Scott Shirley and Uplifting Athletes have provided an opportunity for us to reciprocate that sentiment. The opportunity to start a chapter of Uplifting Athletes here at Wisconsin enables the football team and community to help inspire one of our young members, and to build a foundation for something that will change the lives of tens thousands of people around the country in the future.
The wheels for a chapter of an organization run by football players and committed to raising funds to fight rare diseases at Wisconsin began turning over a decade ago with the creation of Uplifting Athletes. In early 2013, Uplifting Athletes founder and executive director Scott Shirley paid a visit to Madison to discuss developing a chapter of the organization with football players at the University of Wisconsin.
Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for rare diseases. The organization was started by Shirley in 2003 after his father exhausted all options in an effort to battle kidney cancer only to realize there was little funding because of kidney cancer's classification as a rare disease.
Frustrated, Shirley, who was a wide receiver at Penn State at the time, decided to take action. With the help of teammates, Uplifting Athletes was born. A decade later and over 20 chapters stronger, Uplifting Athletes continues to fight for its cause.
A disease is deemed rare if it afflicts less than 200,000 people. Sadly, there are many rare diseases, from which 30 million Americans suffer from in total. With the Wisconsin football team and Darien Moran, one of these rare diseases hits close to home.
Rare diseases do not garner the funding that more prevalent diseases receive. Because of this fact, the Wisconsin football team is doing their best Scott Shirley impersonation, and taking action. The Badgers will be holding their first annual Lift for Life Tuesday, July 23. With the help of Uplifting Athletes, the biggest and fastest players on the football team will put on a show for fans to see online. Keep an eye out for the video, and be sure to sure to tell your friends because we need help from everyone who supports the Badgers.
Contributing is as easy clicking on this link. This event and its support will be a big first step in what will certainly grow into something powerful here at Wisconsin. This community, university, and football team always take action when a difference can be made in the lives of others. Uplifting Athletes and fans' contributions to the Badgers' lift-a-thon is one such opportunity.
Thanks for all the love and support. Go Badgers!