Eric Shrive: The Story of a Rare Disease Champion

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 I wanted to take on more of a role and get more involved. I love the mission of Uplifting Athletes and I love the way it positions us in the community and gives us an opportunity to give back.”

Shrive will officially receive the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion trophy as part of the Maxwell Football Club National Awards Dinner on March 1 in Atlantic City. The following night, Saturday March 2, Shrive will be honored in Harrisburg as part of the Uplifting Athletes Gridiron Gala celebration inside Strawberry Square.

To get tickets for the 2013 Gridiron Gala, please visit our web site at

“It’s a special honor and a great testament to my family and my hometown and everyone that has been so supportive of my efforts to raise as much money as I could,” said Shrive, a native of West Scranton.

“Going to Maxwell banquet will be very special. The Maxwell and Gridiron Gala are great opportunities to show the rest of college football world what Penn State football stands for and what great student-athletes have to offer beyond football.”

Always a solid foot soldier that believed firmly in the mission of Uplifting Athletes and the difference it could make in the rare disease community, Shrive’s passion became personal when in the summer of 2011. Back home for a weekend away from the grind of summer training, Shrive found out his uncle had been diagnosed with a rare disease. But it wasn’t just any rare disease. His uncle was battling kidney cancer – the rare disease that the Penn State chapter champions.

“When it became personal we saw the struggles first-hand because it was a rare disease,” Shrive said. “I saw the treatments he couldn’t get or the doctors he couldn’t see. The mission of Uplifting Athletes made more sense to me than ever.

“The mission of aligning college football with rare diseases is so spot-on. In the fall when the spotlight is on college football, this gives us the opportunity to try and bring more of the focus on those who need more of the spotlight.”

With one more year of eligibility remaining, Shrive knows his football days are numbered. But because of his deep involvement with Uplifting Athletes for what will be five seasons, he feels more prepared to walk away from the game than ever.

“Uplifting Athletes had done so much to shape my future for me. It gives you a little bit of a leadership perspective. It’s helped me grow as a person and broadened my horizons,” Shrive said. “Those of us who chose to stay at Penn State have become a close band of brothers.

“When its tough the easiest thing to do is turn your back and run. What I’ve learned, no matter how tough the road might be the best way to go about is to put your head down and go to work.”

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