The Arizona Wildcats football program has partnered with the nonprofit organization Uplifting Athletes to help children with rare diseases. Spokesman John Bronson said Arizona is the only Pac-12 school to have an Uplifting Athletes chapter.
The Wildcats athletic program released a video Friday of football players and coaches in their weight room interacting with and coaching a young boy, Andrew Valdez, who has cystic fibrosis. It was Arizona’s first Lift for Life event to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Southern Arizona.
Wildcats tight end Josh Kern said the team had prior experience with Valdez after meeting him at the local children’s hospital, and he said the players knew right away which kid they wanted to sponsor as part of the Uplifting Athletes program.
“It’s just awesome having him in town, because we can see him when he’s in the hospital, we can go visit him, try to keep his spirits up,” Kern said, “and he’s also motivation for us.”
The tight end also said the team hosted Valdez for the Oregon game last season, which was when UA upset the Ducks 42-16.
“It’s just so amazing to be a part of Arizona football,” Valdez said. “To be here is just like a dream, basically. And it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Well done, Wildcats.
Character Counts Finalist
- Horizon's Kody Huff more than a rising baseball star
- Campo Verde's Kanani Hiapo thrives on volleyball court, in the classroom
- Raymond S. Kellis sophomore Chase Weaver balances leadership roles in sports, church
- Westwood's Brianna Anderson makes big differences with little actions
- Marcos de Niza kicker Krysten Muir using football success to build up others
- Arcadia High School's Grant Loftin leads in lacrosse and beyond
- Williams Field High School junior Lindsay O'Driscoll finds time to help others
- Scottsdale Christian's Christina Clark has dreams, reality of helping others
- Golf, piloting and helping others are Brody Burnell's passions
- Teddy bear drive, speeches help Emery Miller inspire children to overcome adversity