Shrive, Lions aiming for $1 million

Penn State's Lift For Life event, now in its 11th year, has already raised more than $700,000 for kidney cancer research. If organizers reach their goal, that number would top $1 million by week's end.

Shrive hit his personal fundraising goal this week and kept going.

Should they hit that mark, more than a tenth of those funds will have been raised by a single player.

Earlier this week, senior offensive lineman Eric Shrive, Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter president, surpassed his five-year goal of $100,000 raised. So he increased his aim.

"I'm expecting some more donations," said Shrive, who had raised an estimated $33,000 for this year's event as of Wednesday morning. "I didn't want people to shy away from donating now that I reached my goal."

Shrive and his Penn State teammates work year-round to raise money for Lift For Life, which was launched in 2003 by a group of Nittany Lions including Scott Shirley, who would go on to found Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit group that now has chapters at 18 universities. But as his final Lift For Life approached, Shrive decided to boost his efforts.

Last week, he held a barbecue at the Tiki Bar in his native Scranton, which included live entertainment and an auction for Penn State memorabilia. The event brought in around $13,000.

"We thought, Fourth of July weekend, let's have a barbecue, let's get some businesses involved and see how much money we could raise," Shrive said. "It was a very successful event."

The Nittany Lions hope Friday's event yields similar results. The weightlifting challenge will be held from 5-7 p.m. on the outdoor lacrosse field of Penn State's multi-sport facility (across the street from the Lasch Building), but doors will open for fans at 4 p.m. Highlighting items in the live auction will be a pair of cornhole boards signed by every Penn State player and used by the team during its recent "Lasch Bash" barbecue (the set includes bags that read "Iron Lions").

Thanks to a recent NCAA rule change, Penn State's true freshmen will be permitted to compete in the event (they took part in a separate workout prior to the start of last year's challenge), which will once again pit the offense against the defense. Fans can donate in the name of a specific player by visiting www.upliftingathletes.org or by sending a check (with the player's name in the memo line) made out to Uplifting Athletes and send to Deloris Brobeck, Penn State Football Academic Center, Lasch Building, University Park PA 16802.

Shrive, who won Uplifting Athletes' Rare Disease Champion Award this winter, believes his work with the organization over the last few years will pay dividends after he leaves Penn State.

"I was able to broaden my network of people, communicate with a lot of business leaders and have business meetings and be able to prioritize my time," said the hotel, restaurant and institutional management major. "It's definitely helped me and is going to help me going forward."

And Shrive, whose uncle was diagnosed with kidney cancer two years ago, continues to help one of Penn State's most honorable causes at a remarkable rate.

"I'm not gonna lie; back in my freshman and sophomore even redshirt sophomore year, I wasn't thinking about $100,000. The team raises $100,000 in one year," he said. "And then I saw what I could do last year and I got to $69,000, and I knew that I was gonna set my mind to it this year and get to 100 and I thought, raising 100,000 in five years is something to be proud of, and that's why I did it."

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