During his junior football season at Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, Adam Breneman (left) recorded 72 receptions for 1120 yards and 12 touchdowns. Next fall, there will be zeros next to all of those categories. A torn ACL suffered last month will keep the five star tight end from playing in his senior season of high school football, but the 2013 Penn State commit will be making an impact in a different way.
Through Project A.L.S. — a non-profit organization founded in 1998 dedicated to understanding, treating, and hopefully one day curing Lou Gehrig’s disease — the prized recruit will be working to #CatchTheCure, bringing both awareness and fundraising to the fight against ALS.
The disease hits home for Breneman, whose neighbor and family friend, Tom Kirchhoff, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010. Like Breneman, Kirchhoff had a standout football career at Cedar Cliff High School in the late 1980s before going on to star at Lafayette College as a quarterback and had a short professional stint with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kirchhoff currently has four young children and holds an executive position at Cleveland Brothers, who has promised to match the total raised from the project.
Breneman’s goal is to raise at least $20,000 by November 2. The Kirchhoff family will match that amount which will then put Cleveland Brothers in a position to quadruple the original total.
Breneman and Kirchhoff have adopted the simple yet inspiring phrase “We Will Win.” This statement originated from Kirchhoff’s lifelong friend Mike McElrath, a former member of the U.S. military who ended a text message with those three words upon finding out that his best friend had been diagnosed with ALS.
In the Catch the Cure press release, Kirchhoff admits that finding a cure is an “incredible longshot” but still plans to make an impact. “For me, ‘We Will Win’ means extending my life as long as I can, giving my kids a firm foundation as they begin their lives and living a life with meaning.”
Breneman has found a perspective through Kirchhoff that is helping him deal with the initial stages of recovering from his injury. “After thinking a lot about my injury, Tom’s fight with ALS, and the statement ‘We Will Win’, I realized that football is a small part in the grand scheme of things. Winning for me is not being a five star recruit, breaking the state record, or playing in the NFL. Winning is to let football be what I do and not let it define who I am,” Breneman said.
Late last night, Breneman tweeted that over $1,000 had already been raised within the first day of the campaign, and he informed me this morning that as of 8:15 am, the total is up to $4,160 in less than 24 hours. He has been frequently promoting the #CatchTheCure hashtag on Twitter as well. You can add to that total by clicking here.
Breneman committed to Penn State on March 9th. He was the fourth verbal commit for Bill O’Brien’s Class of 2013 and widely considered the most important.
The Nittany Lions appeared to have secured a player with every chance to be elite at the collegiate level. They already have a special 17 year old kid.
**For a previous Onward State feature on Adam Breneman, click here.**