Jason Ganter on an Uplifting Experience

Fight On State turns over the writing duties to the Nittany Lion defensive back, who offers a player's perspective on the annual Lift For Life charity event. This story first ran in the most recent edition of Fight On State The Magazine, and is reprinted here to allow all PSU fans a unique prespective on a great cause and a sneak peek into the magazine.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jason Ganter is a redshirt sophomore safety on the Penn State football team. The son of longtime Nittany Lion offensive coordinator Fran Ganter, he has a special appreciation for the traditions surrounding the PSU program. Now he is part of one: Lift For Life, the first student-athlete-run non-profit organization in the nation. A communications major, Jason agreed to write a piece for Fight On State explaining LFL from a player's perspective. He filed the article two days after coming up with a spectacular interception in the Blue-White Game in the spring. This story appears in the most recent edition of FOS The Magazine, but given the nature of its content, we felt it made sense to make it available to all Penn State fans.

The greatest honor associated with being a Penn State football player is the opportunity to belong to a distinguished tradition of excellence. Beaver Stadium … Joe Paterno … black shoes … plain jerseys … white helmets. All are synonymous with Nittany Lion football.

As a high school graduate in July 2002, I was fortunate to witness the birth of a new tradition when I was a spectator at the first annual Penn State Football Lift For Life to benefit the Kidney Cancer Association. Now a Nittany Lion player, I am honored to be a part of the tradition.

Lift For Life has quickly established itself as an integral part of the Penn State football experience, with everyone from star players to little-known but dedicated walk-ons eager to participate each year. Since its inception in March 2003, Lift For Life has raised more than $50,000, with all proceeds directly benefiting the KCA.

Lift For Life is held in Holuba Hall every July and tests the mental and physical strength of Penn State football players. It also serves as a showcase for Nittany Lion fans, who are rarely given the opportunity to see our team's hard work in preparation for the next season. It means a great deal to us to have our fans, families and friends on hand to root us on as we make our way through the grueling, 11-event strength and conditioning workout.

Most importantly, Lift For Life is a chance for spectators and participants alike to pull together in support of a worthy cause. For the players, that spirit of teamwork and camaraderie sets a tone that is important when the season begins in the fall. The events, which range from the simple leg press and bench press to the matchless 100-pound plate pulls and the giant tire flip, act as an assurance that toughness, dedication and most importantly heart will be displayed, all being put forth to help raise money and support for kidney cancer patients and the KCA.

While this one-day event is physically exhausting, it is nothing compared to the ordeal kidney cancer patients must endure every day as they attempt to beat the disease. I speak for the entire team when I say we are happy to make this small sacrifice for such an important cause.

As I look forward to the third annual event this summer, I have begun to understand how moving and powerful this fund-raiser can become in future years. With the support the Penn State football community has demonstrated, there is no reason Lift For Life can't exceed the goals of the players who launched it. Lift For Life benefits a great cause, and the members of the Penn State football team are proud to be a part of the fight against kidney cancer.

It is important for student-athletes to get involved in events such as Lift For Life. Those who dedicate their valuable time to people in need are rewarded with an incredible feeling. Athletes at Penn State are blessed to be able to represent our school while we compete in sports we love. It is gratifying to show the same amount of support and inspiration that we receive from the Penn State community to a cause of much greater value and importance.

With the Penn State football team serving as the backbone of Lift For Life, we as players have the ability to spread the word, and have the power and the desire to continue the success achieved so far while raising the bar to another level. Lift For Life, and the organizations benefiting from its success, not only need but also deserve the chance to grow and flourish.

With the support of the entire Penn State family, we can make that happen.

Lift For Life will be held July 15, the Friday of Arts Festival, in Holuba Hall on the Penn State campus. For more information or to make your tax-deductible donation to Lift For Life, please contact Deloris Brobeck at 814.865.1946 or visit http://www.psuliftforlife.org/.

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