RALEIGH — By NCAA rules, football coaches arent normally allowed to observe offseason workouts. This was no normal workout. For this, Dana Bible requested and received permission to observe.
So the N.C. State offensive coordinator watched, proud and humbled, as his team went through a grueling series of challenges on the Dail Practice Fields, all to raise money in his honor.
In 2009, Bible was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Bible has been in remission for more than two years, but the N.C. State chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization of college football players that works to raise awareness of rare diseases like Bibles, is just finding its mission.
Wednesday, the Wolfpack held its inaugural Lift for Life as fans and supporters wandered in to watch Bible among them.
When I learned about it, it was really quite an honor to be somebody who was an inspiration to put this into motion, Bible said. Obviously, the purpose is meaningful. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with reaching out to a situation or people who are a lot less fortunate.
Its an example of young people taking action. Not sitting by. Not letting the world go by, but being proactive in something that obviously is a tremendous cause.
Three years ago, Wolfpack football players pooled their per diems and donated to the Boston College chapter of Uplifting Athletes when linebacker Mark Herzlich, who was recruited to the Eagles by N.C. State coach Tom OBrien, was fighting cancer. After Bible was diagnosed and left the team to undergo treatment later that season, N.C. State players founded a chapter of their own.
Wayne Crawford got it started, and when he graduated, fullback Tyler Purvis and quarterback Mike Glennon who missed Wednesdays event because he was serving as a counselor at the Elite 11 quarterback camp in California took over.
At Penn State, where the organization was founded, this summers Lift for Life event raised more than $100,000. At N.C. State, they were accepting donations and selling T-shirts Wednesday, but this first Lift for Life event was less about raising money than it was raising awareness, a first step toward a bigger goal.
We dont really have a goal, Purvis said. Seeing how this is our first year having this lift, and the organization is new at N.C. State its more about not raising money but awareness. The money will come once we get established and have a couple Lift for Lifes.
Under the hot late-afternoon sun, with brief respites of clouds and cooling breezes, the N.C. State players went through a series of six stations flipping tractor tires, pushing weight sleds, hurling medicine balls, toting sandbags, running suicides and jumping through a sand pit under the urging of new strength coach Corey Edmond, a former Wolfpack linebacker.
We just wanted to fight, a simulation, kind of, Purvis said. Were fighting out here, lifting and working hard, just like the fight that people have when theyre diagnosed with cancer.
Purvis wiped away the sweat and rejoined his group at the next station. Bible, standing nearby, just beamed.
What can you say, Bible said, other than that this is the very best of what young people today are a part of.
DeCock: firstname.lastname@example.org, (919) 829-8947, Twitter: @LukeDeCock