Football team hosting competition to raise money to fight rare disease


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July 17, 2013

Chris Borland letter asking fans for support

MADISON, Wis. -- Chris Borland is no stranger to leadership. On July 23, the senior will lead his team in a new effort with help from his teammates Jeff Lewis and Kyle Zuleger--one to raise money for Lagerhans Cell Histiocytosis X research.

Borland, Zuleger and Lewis were inspired to raise money for the disease after taking part in the Badgers-themed bedroom makeover of a 14-year-old Madison boy named Darien Moran in May. Moran suffers Lagerhans Cell Histiocytosis X, a rare autoimmune disease. He was first diagnosed with the disease in the summer of 2011 after experiencing leg and hip pain that doctors first attributed to a sports-related injury. After receiving the diagnosis, Darien beat the disease only to have it return six months later.

Earlier this year, Darien was sidelined again with a tumor on his skull and is currently undergoing three consecutive daily regimens of chemotherapy every 28 days.

"To be honest, I was kind of dumbfounded at his ability to act like a normal 14-year-old despite all that he's been through," said Zuleger. "It made me step back and reevaluate what's going on in my life, what's important."

Inspired by the young boy, the student-athletes decided to use their platform as UW football players to raise awareness of Darien's disease and funding for research. Partnering with the national non-profit Uplifting Athletes, an organization that aligns college football teams with rare diseases to raise them as a national priority through research, outreach, education and advocacy, the team will host their first event in support of the cause, Lift for Life, on Tuesday, July 23 in the football weight room at Camp Randall Stadium. Spanning over the course of the entire day, the team will take part in an intense weight lifting and conditioning regimen accompanied by one special guest--Darien Moran.

As the Badgers prepare to push themselves to their physical limits in support of the cause, they are hoping Badger fans will get involved as well.

"There's so much more that we care about besides the game of football," said Zuleger. "We hope that fans recognize this effort and join together to help us raise money in support of Darien."

More information on Uplifting Athletes can be found here.

Fans wishing to donate to the cause may do so here.

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