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February 27, 2013

Lions prep for Pushup Challenge

Who's ready to pump out a few pushups?

Beginning Wednesday night at 5:30 - before the tipoff between Penn State and Michigan - Penn State students will attempt to do 7,000 pushups as part of the Uplifting Athletes Pushup Challenge.

Eric Shrive, president of the Penn State Uplifting Athletes Chapter, is asking students to meet at Portal 31 of the Bryce Jordan Center, and in a collective effort, they'll work toward 7,000 pushups, which signifies the near 7,000 known rare diseases. National Rare Disease Day is set for Thursday, Feb. 28.

"It's just something new we're doing," Shrive explained. "If you read the mission of Uplifting Athletes, it's not only to raise funds, but it's to raise awareness [for rare diseases.] So this is going to be one of our awareness events. It's not only for kidney cancer, but the number 7,000 is really important because it represents the 7,000 rare diseases."

He added that the pre-game event is "more of a meet-and-greet for the fans, but the fans are also going to get down and do the pushups."

Current and former Penn State football players will be tallying each pushup and a special pushup session will be held at halftime and will include Penn State chapter members, athletes and the Nittany Lion.

For those unable to be in attendance at the Bryce Jordan Center, you can participate through Twitter. Uplifting Athletes asks to share your results preferably with a photo or video and tweet it to @UpliftingAth with #BTNLiveBig hashtag.

Former Nittany Lion football player Scott Shirley founded Uplifting Athletes nearly a decade ago after learning that his father had been diagnosed with kidney cancer, a rare disease which affects less than 200,000 Americans.

Since, the Penn State football team has raised more than $700,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association and six separate treatments for kidney cancer have been discovered. Most of the money is donated leading up to the Lift for Life event, which is held each July. In 2012, the team raised a record of $110,374.00 for kidney cancer research. While donations can be made Wednesday night, Shrive said the pushup challenge is an event to create more awareness for the cause.

In January, Shrive was honored as the 2013 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion for raising nearly $70,000 for Uplifting Athletes throughout his four years at Penn State. It is the largest sum of money any student-athlete has raised in the history of the foundation.

Shrive will receive his trophy at the Maxwell Football Club National Awards Gala on March 1 in Atlantic City, which will be broadcast on ESPN3. On March 2, Shrive again will be honored at the Uplifting Athletes Gridiron Gala held inside Strawberry Square in Harrisburg (Pa.)

"Winning my award, it's a great accomplishment," Shrive said. "But there's more to be done. Really the people are the real winners. I've won this award. It's great, but I don't do it for the recognition, though. Really, the champions are the people with kidney cancer who were able to be helped out."

As president - he spent the past two years as vice president - Shrive is hoping the 2013 Lift for Life hauls in an even larger sum of donations. And as for himself, reaching $100,000 for his career might be a personal target.

"I love setting a ridiculous goal and just going after it and getting people behind me," Shrive said. "It says something special about Penn State because the fans are willing to get behind us."



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