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Author Archives: ScottShirley

About ScottShirley

Scott Shirley is a former Penn State Wide Receiver and Civil Engineer. While a senior in college, Scott's life took an unexpected turn when his father was diagnosed with a rare disease. His father's battle with cancer is what fueled Scott to create Uplifting Athletes, a full service national nonprofit foundation serving the rare disease community of nearly 30 million Americans. Scott is currently the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director for this organization. The mission of Uplifting Athletes is to align college football with rare diseases and raise them as a national priority through outreach, research, education and advocacy. This coordinated effort across college campuses is producing leaders out of people in a position of social influence, elevating the rare disease cause. Learn more about Uplifting Athletes at: http://www.upliftingathletes.org.

Run of my Life


Holden BaseballLet me start out by saying that I never considered myself a runner.  However, it has had a significant impact on the happiness and contentment I experience today.

As with most (former) athletes, running is considered a necessary evil.  A lot of times its even used as a form of punishment.  But about four years ago when I decided it was time to lose some weight…it was really the most efficient way to do so.  The weight loss helped me feel better and sleep deeper, increased my confidence, allowed me to enjoy playing competitive sports again and generally live a healthier lifestyle.

The greatest benefits have been unexpected though…almost coincidental.  When I met the girl of my dreams, running became our favorite pass time.  We learned a lot about each other as we ran stride for stride along the river that summer and raced towards our engagement eight months later.

Our passion for running grew as the paths of our lives merged.  We stumbled upon the site of our dream wedding while running through our favorite park. The miles we’ve logged since then help us with the arrival of a healthy, happy baby (and very healthy, happy mom).  And our latest discovery…a secluded enclave that could become our future home!

The frequency of this good fortune leads me to believe that its less a coincidence and more a result of the open road opening my mind and heart.  We’re excited to explore the many miles that await us as we continue sprinting this marathon called life!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Special Post: Re-Living The Wedding Of Our Dreams


Special Post: Re-Living The Wedding Of Our Dreams.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 


Uplifting Athletes

What started as a reason to build relationships with new teammates, and hoping to get to know a little about the veterans, has blossomed into helping Eric Shrive more tightly define his own personal purpose. Penn State’s redshirt junior offensive lineman walked into an Uplifting Athletes meeting as a freshman and stumbled upon a student-athlete led organization he felt a connection with.

Shrive Photo 2Four years later Shrive is the top student fundraiser in the history of Uplifting Athletes with nearly $70,000 raised for kidney cancer research through the Nittany Lions’ Lift For Life. And the newly elected President of the Penn State chapter recently was crowned the 2013 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion as voted by the public.

“It’s tough as a freshman with all the classes and football,” Shrive said. “I liked what (former Penn State chapter President) Brett Brackett was telling us and it sounded good.

“Going into my sophomore year…

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Maxwell Honor Reaffirms My Beliefs in Penn State Student-Athletes


2012 Penn State Senior Class

2012 Penn State Senior Class

Earlier this year, Friday July 13 to be exact, I witnessed what I always believed to be true. One day after the Freeh Report was released, this group of Penn State football players simply continued to go through life as they knew it.

Their spirit was contagious for the thousands of fans on hand for the annual Lift For Life event on the lacrosse field in the shadow of Beaver Stadium under the cloud of the Freeh Report and the impending NCAA sanctions.

And nearly five months later, standing at 8-4, this Penn State football senior class is being recognized for their courage and fortitude in the face of adversity by one of the leading football awards organizations in the country.

I’m very lucky in my role with Uplifting Athletes, I get to work with the good kids at every school. But they never cease to amaze me. And this group of Penn State seniors faced unparalleled challenges.

And to me, this group of Penn State seniors demonstrated that through all of this it was clear their priorities individually and collectively were never out of line. They chose to stay under a dark cloud that they had nothing to do with creating it. And the NCAA gave them the freedom to walk away.

Whether they stayed or left for another program, there were no guarantees under either situation. Only the negatives were guaranteed – no bowl game, no postseason, loss of scholarships and teammates transferring. It was up to them to create their own positives.

And by winning the Maxwell Football Club Thomas Brookshier Spirit Award in recognition of their commitment, leadership and outstanding effort this season, this group clearly demonstrated they were fully capable of not only navigating the unknown, but could also create their own positives at the same time.

What I knew to be true before November 5, 2011 when the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal broke, I believed it to be true after the Freeh Report was released in July and this Penn State senior class has proven it to be true today.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in News, Penn State, Uplifting Athletes

 

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Bennis Public Relations Inc

Just a little over one year ago I wrote an article entitled, “When You Don’t Plan Everything, Everything Goes As Planned.” I regarded this as one of the most insightful thoughts I had stumbled upon in a long time. It was a great turning point for a self-proclaimed perfectionist and I felt a release from all the pressure trying to control everything this brought about. But in the months since that post, I experienced some big (and wonderful) life changes that really put this mindset to the test. A monumental event like a wedding is something you HAVE to plan for. And there’s an entire industry of vendors who are supported by this very fact. But today I don’t want to share with you the 7 months of planning and prepping that led up to my wedding day, instead I want to share with you the even more…

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Random TXTs of Kindness


During the Spring of my junior year at Penn State, the world taught me a harsh lesson about life, relationships and faith. Eric Dare was one of my first friends in college. We had very similar values. Our families always came first, we were respected by our peers for our work ethic and we developed meaningful relationships with our teammates.

Our football team was ranked #1 in Sports Illustrated’s preseason poll and we won our first eight games of the season. Minnesota derailed our plans for a national championship with a Hail Mary pass and a last second field goal. It was like having the wind knocked out of us. I personally feel that our team was so intent on winning the BCS title that once it became out of reach, nothing else mattered. There was no talk about winning the Big Ten or the Rose Bowl.  Both of which were still possible until we lost to Michigan and Michigan State in subsequent weeks…resulting in an invitation to the Alamo Bowl.

Eric thought it would be a idea for a group of us freshman to drive his family’s RV 26 hours from State College, PA, to San Antonio, TX.  This was a great opportunity for us to regroup and bond with each other.  We ended up beating Texas A&M in their back yard, but the memory that I’ve held onto is the friendship I developed with Eric’s younger brother Kevin.

That summer, I moved in with Eric and Kevin. We worked together, worked out together and spent quality time with his parents and grandparents. Kevin started school at Penn State the following year and competed in the pole vault on the track team. He was a natural athlete and one of the best at his craft.

His life ended tragically at the Big Ten indoor championship meet when he landed head first in “the box.” I called Eric immediately and to my surprise, he answered. From that day on, I’ve never hesitated — or regretted — reaching out to someone at a time of need.

This was really my first experience with death. I learned that you will never feel guilty going to a funeral (even if you ONLY knew the deceased) and that the grieving process usually begins after everyone else is gone…so make sure to offer your support in the weeks following the wake.

But it was reading the hundreds, if not thousands, of fond memories from people who dearly loved Kevin that it struck me: Wouldn’t it have been nice for Kevin to hear these things?

Now, this question opens up an entirely different spiritual debate (which I have not completely resolved for myself yet), but why did everyone wait until it was too late? Every day of this conscious life is a gift, even if it’s only but a moment of our eternity.  I decided then to make the most of it and I started by letting my loved ones how much I cared about them.  (It doesn’t hurt to look a stranger in the eyes and smile either.)

Since then I’ve adopted a personal philosophy to share “random TXTs of kindness.”  Every time I have a thought about a friend that brings a smile to my face…I let them know.  It’s as simple as “thinking about you” or a funny story that usually starts with “remember when…” Either way, it rarely takes more than 140 characters to make someone else’s day a little brighter. It’s also a nice reminder of my friendship with Kevin.  Who knows, it might just be his way of letting me know he’s thinking about me, too.

Eric and I are still good friends.  He helps with my effort to eradicate rare diseases through Uplifting Athletes and I have helped his family’s mission to improve safety in the sport of pole vaulting. To learn more, please visit www.kevindare.com.

 

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Uplifting Athletes

 

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In Memory of Joe Paterno


Joe Paterno was an honorary chair of the Uplifting Athletes Capital Campaign.  This is the transcript to the speech I presented at the Joe Paterno Memorial Service held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 in Harrisburg. You can watch a replay of the service here (my remarks begin with 30 minutes remaining in the broadcast).

To learn more on my perspectives about life, you can read my words of remembrance about Coach Daniels in an earlier blog postJoe Daniels, a former assistant at Ohio State, was also a campaign chair.  

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Good afternoon.  It is humbling to stand before you today.  I would like to personally thank the Paterno family for graciously allowing all of us to share in the grieving process.  YOU are a first-class institution.

Everyone here today has a relationship with Coach Paterno.  Some of you are family.  Others are friends…perhaps former players…colleagues or fellow parishioners.  Many of you are fans and a lucky few may have even taken a picture with him.  But whether or not you ever met him does not necessarily define YOUR relationship with Joe Paterno…in my opinion, the best measure of your relationship is how he’s influenced YOU to live YOUR life.

While I was a member of the Penn State football team, my father was diagnosed with a rare disease.  Upon learning that little could be done because of a lack of public interest, my family embarked on a journey to find a cure. It was at that time that my teammates rallied around us to start the “Lift For Life.”  This effort has since evolved into a full-service…national…nonprofit called Uplifting Athletes that works with college football players to raise money for rare disease research.  THIS is a direct product of Joe’s GRAND EXPERIMENT, which he started in 1966 to prove that you would win in the classroom AND on the football field.

In fact, I choose Penn State because they were the only school that told me I could major in engineering and compete for a national championship.  But it’s because Joe’s standards were uncompromised….and the Penn State football program has been built on integrity…that I found myself in a locker room surrounded by like-minded athletes who could respond to adversity in such a positive way.  Not to mention a program with a coaching staff and administration that trusted us to pursue this greater purpose.

At this time, I’d like to ask any former players that are with us today to please stand.

Thank you.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the Grand Experiment, please find one of these gentlemen and ask them to share their story.  We all have one!

It’s hard sometimes for the rest of the world to understand that Joe was more than a football coach or that his legacy is more than his 409 wins.  I believe it was Aristotle who once said, “where your talents meet the needs of the world, therein lies your calling.”  Joe didn’t have to be a teacher to educate young men nor did he have to start a nonprofit to serve his community.  By using his natural talents to the best of his ability…he has made the world a better place.

“Success With Honor” is often referred to in the media as a “motto” or a “slogan.” My goal is to prove that it’s a way of life…And in his memory…I’d like to ask all of you to join me in accepting this challenge.

Thank you, Coach.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in In Memory

 

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