Uplifting Athletes named Marshall High School graduate Jordan Culbreath its 2011 Rare Disease Champion at an event at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda on Monday.
Culbreath, a 2006 graduate of Marshall High and senior at Princeton University, suffers from aplastic anemia. He was diagnosed with this rare disease, which causes bone marrow to not make enough new blood cells, in the fall of 2009.
The Rare Disease Champion Award was determine through online voting. Other nominees included North Carolina State offensive coordinator Dana Bible, UCLA running back Derrick Coleman; Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill; and Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien.
“I was very honored to get this award,” said Culbreath. ” It meant a lot. It felt good to be recognized for everything I went through.”
Culbreath, a star football player at Princeton, learned of his disease early in the 2009 season. After seeking treatment, he returned for his senior year as a team captain in 2010. The running back rushed for 384 yards and one touchdown in eight games in 2010.
Uplifting Athletes is a national nonprofit that raises funds and awareness concerning rare diseases. Culbreath and some teammates recently established a Princeton chapter of the organization.
Receiving the most nods in online voting moved Culbreath.
“It showed how much of an inspiration I am to others,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”
For more information on Uplifting Athletes, visit www.upliftingathletes.org.