The Wolfpack football team is hoping that by lifting some heavy—and unusual—weights this week they can also lift the hopes of people fighting Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, a rare cancer of the blood.
It is all part of the team’s second annual “Lift for Life” event to be held at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Dail Practice Facility. The event is being held to raise money to combat cancer while also raising awareness for Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit that gets college student-athletes involved in the fight against rare diseases.
NC State’s chapter has focused its efforts on Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Former NC State offensive coordinator Dana Bible was diagnosed with the rare disease in 2008, but beat the disease and is in remission today.
“We got little bit of a late start this year, but we’re going to do our best to try to raise awareness and get some more money,” says Andy Jomantas, a redshirt junior who is an offensive lineman on the team. He is president of NC State’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes.
“It’s a chance to give back,” Jomantas says. “We’re pretty busy as football players and student-athletes, so we don’t have a ton of time to get involved. This gives us a chance to use a little bit of our stature as athletes to raise money for a good cause and raise awareness.”
The public is welcome to attend the “Lift for Life” event and get autographs after the lifting session is done. Jomantas says he’s not sure what sort of lifts the players will be expected to complete, but says that last year’s event include flipping large tires, pushing sleds and carrying heavy sandbags. The idea, Jomantas says, is for the players to endure a grueling workout in an attempt to recreate the sort of struggle that cancer patients endure.
“It’s a pretty intense workout, not your typical bench press and squats,” he says. “It’s stuff that people will have fun watching.”
Jomantas and other members of the team also hope fans will be inspired to donate. The team raised $2,500 last year, and has set a goal of $10,000 this year. Fan can make a donation through the Uplifting Athletes website or make a donation in the name of a favorite player.