Football: HSU's Reagan Finalist For Uplifting Athletes Award
Humboldt's Dillon Reagon (53) is finalist for Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award.
Humboldt's Dillon Reagon (53) is finalist for Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

ARCATA, Calif. - Humboldt State offensive lineman Dillon Reagan is among seven football players who are nationwide finalists for the 2013 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award. Along with Reagan, the field includes Penn State's Eric Shrive, Oklahoma's Austin Woods, Florida's Neiron Ball, Navy's Chris Ferguson, USC's Frankie Telfort and Fordham's Andrew Milmore.

The honor is presented annually to recognize a leader in the world of college football who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the rare disease community. More than 30 million Americans are affected by rare diseases.

While attending and playing football for College of the Redwoods in 2010, Reagan contracted an illness that remained undiagnosed while he suffered progressively serious mental and physical impairment. In April of 2011, his malady was finally identified as Cushing's Syndrome, a rare disease that resulted in a large tumor that wrapped around Reagan's heart and left lung.

Following open-heart surgery, the junior offensive lineman from Issaquah, Wash. immediately began rehabilitation, returning to the CR lineup in 2011 and earning All-California State JC first team recognition.

He then transferred to Humboldt State, and earned All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors for his efforts as a Lumberjack starter last fall. His saga was chronicled in a feature story that can be found at

To read about each finalist’s personal story and connection to the rare disease community log onto, where you can cast your vote for this year’s champion. Only one vote is allowed per e-mail address.

The fifth annual award winner will be determined by an online vote which contunues through January 31 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The 2013 Champion will be announced February 1. The winner will be presented the Rare Disease Champion Sculpture at the Maxwell Club Awards Gala in Atlantic City on March 1.

Previous winners include American Football Coaches Association Executive Director Grant Teaff (2009), Dickinson College quarterback Ian Mitchell (2010), Princeton running back Jordan Culbreath (2011), and Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead (2012).

Uplifting Athletes is a full-service national nonprofit organization aligning college football with rare diseases and raising them as a national priority through research, outreach, education and advocacy. What makes Uplifting Athletes unique is that our university chapters are run by current football student-athletes, providing them with an opportunity to gain management and leadership skills while learning how to leverage their assets and abilities to make a positive and lasting impact.