Lift For Life Raises $75,000

Penn State's Uplifting Athletes' fifth-annual Lift For Life Challenge climbed to new heights at Holuba Hall Friday. The event, in which 84 members of the Nittany Lion football team endured a grueling midsummer workout to raise money to help fight kidney cancer, drew a record $75,000.

More than 3,000 people watched the Penn State players abuse themselves in events like the bench press, iron cross and giant tire flip.

“We take it seriously and we tease around a little bit,” All-America linebacker Dan Connor said. “…But raising money for this, meeting the people who donate money, it's a great experience. Everyone's having a good time.”

A good cause, yes. But a good time?

Fellow linebacker Sean Lee may have summed it up best when, after the event, he proudly proclaimed, “I'm just glad I didn't puke. I was dry-heaving for a little bit, but I did all right.”

Some of the Lions did more than all right. Uplifting Athletes' Lift For Life Challenge is the nation's only student-athlete run philanthropy. And the four-man team that won the competition included UA officers Kevin Suhey (quarterback), Jason Ganter (safety) and Brett Brackett (wideout), as well as safety Mark Rubin.

Their team, “Wear Burt Bee?,” finished in a dead heat with “The Nitzies,” comprised of center A.Q. Shipley, linebacker Tyrell Sales, defensive end Josh Gaines and tailback Austin Scott. The tie was broken on the criteria of which team fared better in more of the 12 events, and “Wear Burt Bee?” slipped out with the win.

“Overall, I think every thing went well, especially with my team being up there at the top of the leader board,” Suhey said with a smile. “I think everything was good today, it was very successful.”

Team “Maryland,” consisting of linebacker Navorro Bowman, defensive end Aaron Maybin, defensive back A.J. Wallace and receiver Derrick Williams, took third.

The event is especially difficult on the true freshmen who just enrolled at Penn State earlier this month. More of them than not had trouble keeping their lunch down during the workout.

But even they had a good idea of why they were subjecting themselves to the crazy workout.

One of the last two competitors of the day, defensive lineman Chimaeze Okoli summed things up perfectly while coming off the field seconds after completing the giant tire flip.

“That's the most important thing, that we're not doing this just for ourselves — there's a higher cause that we're helping out people less fortunate,” he said. “We feel blessed to come here and play football at a great university on scholarship. I'm just thankful I was able to do it.”

Stay tuned to in the coming days and weeks for much more on LFL. We did dozens of video interviews with everyone from underclassmen to former Nittany Lions now in the NFL.

And in the meantime, if you did not donate to Uplifting Athletes' Lift For Life, you can still do so at

Hear Uplifting Athletes president and Penn State quarterback Kevin Suhey talk about Lift For Life 2007 by clicking below.

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