Coleman founded organization's OSU chapter
Published: Monday, October 25, 2010
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 23:06
Former Buckeye safety Kurt Coleman has left an enduring legacy off the field.
Coleman is a founding member of the Ohio State chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization that raises money for rare diseases. Coleman's work establishing the athlete-run organization was recently spotlighted by the Big Ten Network's Give Big program.
"When we did outreach to Ohio State University we kept hearing about Kurt Coleman's fantastic work that he had done with Uplifting Athletes," Give Big program consultant Jeanette Duffy said. "So it just seemed like a no-brainer once we spoke to Kurt himself."
Coleman and then-OSU fullback Matt Daniels started the campus chapter more than three years ago.
"How I kind of came about it is my roommate Matt Daniels and I … our dads both had cancer," Coleman said. "We wanted to try to do something for those diseases as well as other diseases (and) … we figured that it was a great opportunity to branch out and start our own chapter at Ohio State."
When remembering his time with the organization, Coleman talks about his contributions and the fun he had helping the community.
"My (most fun) time was last year when I was able to take over the whole process myself," he said. "We had an event at Damon's (restaurant) … to raise awareness of CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth) disease, which (quarterback) Terrelle (Pryor's) father and aunt have."
One focus of the organization is to include as many members of the football team as possible.
"Coach (Jim) Tressel and all the guys, they rally behind all these type of ideas," Coleman said. "It's nothing new to them … people are very willing to follow and participate."
Now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Kurt is glad the team has continued to participate after his departure.
"It's been going for about four years strong and it's continuing to develop," Coleman said. "It's got a lot of youth to it, a lot of growth and a lot of room to grow."
Though he has moved on, Coleman has influenced the chapter's leadership.
"Kurt is a guy I can always call, on and off the field, for advice," said Donnie Evege, defensive back and chapter president. "I think he set a great example for myself and everyone else on the football team."
That example was most crucial in Coleman's final year when Evege served as vice president.
"Kurt showed me how to do it his last year here," Evege said. "I followed in his footsteps, and when he was gone, I kind of had a smooth transition into it."
Despite remaining in contact with Uplifting Athletes, Coleman does not want to dictate its decision-making.
"I don't want to tell them what disease they should be trying to raise money for," he said. "The whole fun for me was that I got to choose which rare disease to raise money for so I felt like I had done something."
Influencing decisions or not, Coleman has done something to make a name for the organization in Columbus.
"Since Kurt was actually the one to start the chapter of Uplifting Athletes … he has certainly left his mark," Duffy said. "He has done some great work there."