When Nittany Lion letterman Scott Shirley received the call that his father was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer during his time at Penn State, he and his family used every bit of the six months his father was given to live to travel the country visiting different doctors for options.

Ultimately met with few options due to lack of funding for rare disease research and medications, Shirley turned toward his teammates for support.

“This is the 16th year which is pretty wild,” Shirley said on a bright Saturday afternoon at Holuba Hall. “I was just talking earlier, this was born out of Penn State, out of the culture at Penn State really, whenever I was facing some adversity with my dad’s diagnosis with a rare disease and my teammates rallied around me and said we’re Penn State football, let’s do something.”

Shirley is the executive director and founder of Uplifting Athletes, which over the course of its existence has grown into 22 chapters, all of which have combined for a credited $400 million economic impact. For Shirley though, without Penn State, there would be no Uplifting Athletes.