Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/11/10
From Press Releases and Staff Reports
Like most young kids, Ian Mitchell had his typical neighborhood friends while growing up in Newtown Square. His classmate at Malvern Prep, Evan Brady, was one of them. Tragically, Brady was diagnosed with bone cancer and eventually died shortly after his senior year.
“I wanted to figure out what I could do to help other kids with cancer,” Mitchell said.
With the help of his dad, Mitchell raised money and awareness with various fundraisers, but then he stumbled on something even greater. Mitchell used his football skills to remember his fallen friend.
Mitchell is the quarterback at Dickinson College and he devised a plan where every game was, essentially, a fundraiser for Brady. Mitchell collected money for his rushing yards and passing yards.
“It could be a set donation amount or even a penny a yard,” Mitchell explains.
In three years time, he’s raised more than $95,000 to help families with terminally ill children through Camp Can Do and Evanfest, a youth tournament created by Brady’s father, Bill Brady, to help families dealing with the burden of caring for a child with a life-threatening disease.
“It feels awesome,” Mitchell says. “It makes me feel great knowing I’m making a difference.”
Uplifting Athletes is giving you the chance to vote on this year’s Rare Disease Champion. Mitchell is one of five nominees nationwide. The honor of the “Rare Disease Champion” is presented annually to recognize a leader in sports (organization or individual) who has realized their potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community.
Last year’s recipient was the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), selected for their nation-wide effort to raise awareness about Duchenne Muscular Distrophy through their one-day event “Coach to Cure MD”, which raised over $230,000 last year.
Beside Mitchell, this year’s nominees are Villanova’s Matt Szczur (football, baseball), Penn State’s Tom Golarz (football), Tulsa’s Wilson Holloway (football), and Clemson’s Stanley Hunter (football).
Mitchell admits once a game starts, he’s never felt like he was raising money. When he did think of his mission, it was when he was in the weight room.
“I felt like if I worked out longer maybe in season, I could run a little further,” Mitchell says.
Mitchell’s compassion for helping those struggling with their health didn’t stop with his in-game fundraiser. He also grew his hair for Locks for Love.
“I would have loved for it to have gone to Evan,” Mitchell says.
He grew the required ten inches of hair and in the spring, 2009, he made yet another contribution. It’s the least he can to help those in need.
Mitchell is finished with football at Dickinson, but that doesn’t necessarily mean his fundraising days are finished. He’s hope to continue playing football at the next level, meaning he still has the opportunity get pledges for his yards. If that doesn’t worth out, he already has the opportunity to return to Dickinson to coach. By the sounds of how Mitchell carries himself, he’ll be asset no matter where he goes.