Penn State Football 'Lift for Life' raises record $81,000

University Park, Pa. — The Seventh annual Uplifting Athletes "Lift for Life" event held Friday at Holuba Hall was another unprecedented success with large crowds and a record total of more than $81,000 raised for the Kidney Cancer Association. The event has now raised nearly $400,000 in its seven years of existence.

Created, organized and run by Penn State football players, the 11-exercise endurance and weight lifting competition drew thousands of spectators to Holuba Hall, the Nittany Lions indoor practice facility, as 24, four-man teams, 96 players in all, went through a circuit of events which included standard exercises such as bench and leg presses and unusual events such as flipping a large tractor tire up and down the length of the hall.

"Every single person I've talked to -- I don't know if they're trying to be nice or if they're being honest -- said they've had a tremendous time, every player they've talked to has been respectful and great to talk to," said Brett Brackett, a junior wide receiver and president of the Penn State chapter of Uplifting Athletes. "Everybody's had great things to say about the setup of the event, and the way things have been going."

Brackett helped organize the event along with Nittany Lions Jesse Alfreno, Pat Mauti, Ryan Gmerek, Brennan Coakley, Mike Farrell, Ty Howle, Stephen Joseph, Shelton McCullough and Matt Stankiewitch.

"In the past seven years, they've developed three new treatments for kidney cancer, in that time we've raised over $300,000," Brackett said. "We take pride and like to think we've played a little bit of a part in that happening.

"One of the cool things is that we look back and see who's donated in years past and the majority of the people that have donated in years past continue to donate. I think they just have such a great feel for what we do, they know the money's going toward a good thing, and with the economy the way it is, people aren't going to donate to something they're not confident in."

Penn State's linebacker unit, universally ranked as one of the tops in the nation, shined on the day as the team of linebackers Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman, Josh Hull and tight end Mickey Shuler posted the top score on the day. The team of Jared Odrick, Brennan Coakley, Jack Crawford and Andrew Quarless took second and the squad of Graham Zug, Chris Colasanti, James McDonald and true freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome took third.

"We just came out ready to get our butts kicked and work out hard and give back to the people that are going through kidney cancer," Nittany Lion All-Big Ten linebacker Bowman said.

Founded by Penn State Football teammates in 2003, "Lift for Life" continues to build awareness and raise funds for the Kidney Cancer Association. Uplifting Athletes is a 501(c)3 national nonprofit organization that aligns college football with rare diseases and raises them as a national priority through outreach, research, education and advocacy.

For more information about Penn State Football Uplifting Athletes or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit

To see photos from Friday's event, visit online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010