The football season may be winding down, but the campaign to find lifesaving medicines for rare disease patients never ends. That’s why CSL Behring, the world’s fifth-largest biotechnology company, is teaming up with Uplifting Athletes for a second straight year to sponsor the Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft.
The members of Uplifting Athletes, who represent some of college football’s highest-profile programs, draw on the power and reach of their platforms to raise awareness and funding for rare disease research. Some of that funding will be awarded on Saturday, March 9, at the Young Investigator Draft, which will once again be held at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.
In taking its inspiration from the National Football League’s popular first-year player draft, the Young Investigator Draft gives influential patient groups the opportunity to select emerging researchers to receive an Uplifting Athletes grant. The grants are given to researchers working in five different areas of rare diseases, including blood disorders, autoimmune and immunological disorders, genetic disorders, muscular and neurological disorders and cancers.
The event goes beyond distributing this much-needed funding by serving as a “special opportunity to bring the rare disease community together,” says Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long, a former Syracuse University football standout and a survivor of a rare brain cancer. Attendees at last year’s inaugural installment of the Young Investigator Draft included patients, doctors, nurses, scientists and those in the biotech industry who work to create lifesaving treatments for rare conditions.
Jens Oltrogge, CSL Behring’s Head of Global Commercial Development, Hematology, says that by creating the Young Investigator Draft, “Uplifting Athletes has added to college football’s rich history of unique traditions by applying the passion of sport to the rare disease community.”
“By returning as the presenting sponsor for this innovative event, we are continuing to deliver on our promise to patients and science by supporting the vitally-important work of these emerging researchers,” Oltrogge added.
Tickets to the Young Investigator Draft are now available to the public through the event’s registration page.
Uplifting Athletes was founded in 2007 and boasts chapters on more than 20 college campuses across the U.S. Its annual fundraisers include on-campus Lift-For-Life events and a “Reps for Rare Diseases” campaign centered on the NFL Combine. Uplifting Athletes alumni also take part in the NFL’s annual “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign.