Competitors at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School this Saturday will be working toward one goal — raising money for kidney cancer research.
Teams will compete in the ninth annual Lift for Life competition Saturday to raise funds for the Kidney Cancer Association. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the high school weight room, located at 500 S. Broad St., in Mechanicsburg.
The event is held in memory of Don Shirley, a baseball coach and teacher at the high school who died from kidney cancer in 2005. The Mechanicsburg chapter of the event has raised more than $60,000 in the past nine years.
Lift for Life is an event organized by the Uplifting Athletes foundation, started by Don’s son Scott, a graduate of East Pennsboro High School and a former football player at Penn State.
The first Lift for Life event was held in 2003, after Don’s diagnosis. The Penn State football team rallied together to organize a strength competition that raised funds for research. Since then, Penn State has raised more than $600,000 to benefit kidney cancer.
Now, Uplifting Athletes hosts various events to help rare disease research become a national priority. Wednesday, Penn State will also host its first annual push-up competition. Held at halftime of the Penn State vs. Michigan basketball game, students and fans will join together to complete 7,000 pushups to represent the 7,000 rare diseases that affect people across the world. The pushups will be tallied by current and former Penn State football players, as well as Penn State’s mascot, the Nittany Lion.
In an email sent out to Mechanicsburg high school faculty and staff, local organizer Clay McAllister, the baseball and girls basketball head coach at Mechanicsburg, called Don Shirley “an outstanding teacher, coach, mentor and friend to all.”
The high school partners with Penn State’s chapter of Lift for Life to help with their fundraising efforts.
Today, Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit organization that raises money to benefit research of all rare diseases, which affect a community of more than 25 million people in the United States alone. The organization’s chapter network is run by student athletes at Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland, Boston College, Colgate, NC State, Northwestern, Kent State and Princeton. University of Florida has also collaborated on an event with the organization.
At Mechanicsburg high school’s competition, teams of high-school aged students are divided into groups of four women or men, and the teams compete against each other in 11 events. Students and faculty will participate in various strength training challenges, including squats, jump rope, chin-ups, bench presses, wind sprints, fireman’s carry, and a giant tire flip, among others.
Each team must raise at least $100 in order to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the teams that raise the most money.
McAllister hopes for at least 25 teams to participate this year.
For more information about the event, go to www.psuliftforlife.org/mash.