Randy York’s N-Sider
Glen Moss and Sam Burtch are driven in two different worlds, but on July 21, they will share a bond, a cause and a passion to carry a torch that will help their respective organizations fight a common foe – pediatric brain cancer. Moss, the president of the Lincoln Track Club, and Burtch, the president of the Nebraska chapter for Uplifting Athletes, will produce the inaugural Nebraska Football Uplifting Athletes Road Race Presented by the Lincoln Track Club on Sunday morning, July 21.
“We produce eight events a year, and that’s about optimum, but with a solid organization and structure already in place, we’re excited to add a cause that has inspired Nebraskans and others across the country and around the world,” Moss said. “We’ve come up with a couple of new running routes to help support the football team and the players’ desire to raise awareness and funds through what I firmly believe will become one of the most anticipated and moving road races in Nebraska every year.”
Burtch, a sophomore wide receiver on Nebraska’s 2013 roster, is eager to use the Uplifting Athletes platform in a road race that will become the chapter’s only major fundraising event of the year, as well as in the years to come. “I believe that the more you know, the more you care, and Nebraska fans everywhere are learning about pediatric brain cancer and wanting to contribute to the cause,” said Burtch, who has strong personal reasons for following fellow Husker walk-on C.J. Zimmerer as the president for Nebraska’s Uplifting Athletes chapter.
Personal Memories Helped Forge Team Cause
“I will always remember Jack Hoffman and Isaiah Casillas joining our team in the Tunnel Walk before we beat Wisconsin last year,” Burtch said. “Rex Burkhead was holding Jack’s hand and Quincy Enunwa was holding Isaiah’s hand. It’s still hard to believe that Isaiah isn't here anymore, but he’s still in our hearts, and our entire team wants to do whatever we can to fight pediatric brain cancer for all kids wherever they might be.”
Uplifting Athletes is a recognized student organization on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and is one of 21 chapters nationally. Each chapter has selected a rare disease that will galvanize efforts to create awareness and raise research funds. “When Rex first met Jack, there was a ripple effect that paved the way for Rex to win our 2012 Rare Disease Champion Award, and that, in turn, started the momentum for the broader cause of pediatric brain cancer,” said Scott Shirley, executive director of Uplifting Athletes.
“When you look at how this race has evolved, you can’t help but see the whole picture,” Shirley said. “You see Jack meeting Rex for the first time. You see the wrist bands the players wore to support the surgeries and the chemo treatments that Jack and his family went through. You relate all that to the Tunnel Walk, the things that happened on the field, plus Jack's Run in the Spring Game. That run expanded the relationship and gave it a voice because it captured the nation’s attention. But that’s just a small part of what the Nebraska Chapter of Uplifting Athletes has accomplished since 2012. We’re very excited for Nebraska to hold its first fundraising event and feel a road race is very symbolic of Jack’s memorable run and fitting for funds that will enable research targeted specifically towards pediatric brain cancer.”
Huskers Appreciate Lincoln Track Club’s Role
“Our hat is off to the Lincoln Track Club – they get it,” said Nebraska Associate Athletic Director Keith Zimmer, the advisor for NU’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes. “Like our players and our fans, the Lincoln Track Club knows pediatric brain cancer is a big battle, and they know it’s not just about one person or two, but about kids everywhere, and we thank the Hoffman family for teaching us all about why this is so important.”
A one-mile fun run will begin at 8 a.m. CT on Sunday, July 21. Jack Hoffman, a catalyst for pediatric brain cancer awareness, plans to attend the fundraising event, along with his entire family from Atkinson, Neb. A 5K run will start at 8:30 a.m. Both runs will begin at the Stadium Drive loop just outside the 501 Building on the UNL city campus. Registration fees are $20 for the fun run and $30 for the 5K race.
All registrants will receive a commemorative race day T-shirt and a wrist band from Uplifting Athletes. The Lincoln Track Club will record all times. No prizes will be awarded, and all proceeds will benefit pediatric brain cancer research.
“I know volunteers will have to be there at 6 o’clock Sunday morning to help out,” Burtch said, “but I also know that even if I wasn’t a football player supporting our chosen cause, I’d still be there Sunday morning doing whatever I could to help. Every kid battling this disease inspires me to do something, and I’m confident that Husker Nation will accept the challenge and join our football team by registering for either race.”
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