Kevin Haplea became a ‘Nole in 2012 when he transferred to Florida State from Penn State. The Annandale, New Jersey native has since exemplified FSU’s motto of “Unconquered” in more ways than one. He battled through a 2013 knee injury, taking a medical redshirt and rehabbing to contribute to the Seminoles’ effort in the coming season. What’s more, he’s quietly leading Florida State’s players in their fight against Fanconi anemia.
FSU Head football coach Jimbo Fisher and his wife Candi founded the Kidz 1st Fund in 2011 after learning that their son Ethan had Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease. Since then, Kidz 1st has raised both money and awareness, with countless members of the Florida State community contributing, including members of the football team.
And that’s where Haplea comes in. The 6-4 tight end is the founder and president of FSU’s Uplifting Athletes chapter, a national nonprofit organization helping college football teams fight against rare diseases. This summer that fight comes in the form of the Seminoles’ first annual Lift for Life event on July 11.
The event, which is open to the public, will give Florida State fans a chance to contribute to the fight against Fanconi anemia while also watching the defending champs workout. It will take place from 4-6 pm in the Alfred J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility (also known as the the indoor practice facility) and feature ‘Noles participating in offensive and defensive drills involving sandbags, tires– even vans. Fans will also have a chance to meet the Seminoles after the event.
“We are so excited for our very first Lift For Life,” said Haplea. “We can’t wait to put on a great show for our fans and continue our fight against Fanconi anemia.”
Uplifting Athletes is asking for a donation of $10 from adults and $5 from students and children, with the proceeds going to Fanconi anemia research.