Last updated: February 20. 2013 4:33AM - 622 Views

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Penn State offensive lineman Eric Shrive, a Scranton native, has been honoted with the 2013 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award for his efforts raising nearly $70,000 for kidney cancer patients and research during his Penn State career.

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.

Shrive, a redshirt junior, was one of seven national finalists for the Fifth Annual Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, with fan voting determining the winner. He will be presented the Rare Disease Champion Sculpture at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Gala on March 1. The following day, Shrive will be honored at the Uplifting Athletes Gridiron Gala in Harrisburg.

Winning the Rare Disease Champion Award is a great honor, Shrive told the school's athletics web site. But in the end, the real winners are the people affected by kidney cancer who I was able to help with the money I was able and will continue to raise. I've taken marketing classes and have learned about adding new strategies to approach new donors. I'm constantly thinking of new people to ask for help.

Shrive's quest to fight kidney cancer and eventually beat the rare disease became personal in 2011 when an uncle was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

We're trying to save lives, Shrive said. I know my family is appreciative of my efforts.

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