Virginia Tech has done a lot to keep the image of the football program and the university as one of the best in the nation.
They continue to do so by raising funds for the nonprofit organization Uplifting Athletes in honor of Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich. The organization is made up of college football players that use their popular status to raise funds for people who suffer from rare diseases.
Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a disease typically found in young adults, on May 12, 2009. Ewing's Sarcoma is a malignant tumor that causes cancerous cells to form in bone and tissue.
The cancer typically forms in the pelvis, femur, humerus, or ribs. Herzlich's cancer is affecting his left leg.
The reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Herzlich chose to stay for his senior season at Boston College. Before his cancer was diagnosed, the Boston College program had undergone a lot of turmoil, but nothing could have prepared the program for the news about the linebacker.
Herzlich could have been a top-10 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, but instead of battling opponents on the gridiron, he had to take on the biggest challenge of his life—cancer.
After months of treatment, including chemotherapy, Herzlich announced on ESPN's "College GameDay" that his doctor called Herzlich's father and told him that he's 99 percent sure the cancer has been defeated.
Herzlich broke the news to the "GameDay" crowd and they responded with an emotional cheer of joy. He still has some more chemotherapy to complete as well as a surgery to repair the damage that the cancer left in his leg.
Despite chemotherapy treatment, Herzlich continued to workout and kept up his weight, unbelievable in-and-of-itself. He is determined to get back on the football field and I wouldn't be surprised to see him suiting up within the next year or two.
The original goal Virginia Tech set for the Uplifting Athletes fund was $5,094. But the generous fans of Hokie Nation exceeded that goal in the first weekend. Frank Beamer announced last week that a new goal had been set for $9,400, in honor of Herzlich's No. 94.
The Hokies should have no problem reaching this goal by Saturday when they will present the check to Herzlich before his Boston College Eagles take on the Hokies at Lane Stadium in a critical ACC matchup.
Regardless of who wins the game, sportsmanship and respect will prevail on Saturday when these two rivals come together as one before they take the field, honoring one of the best players the ACC has to offer.
Hokies Respect will be taken to another level on Saturday, and I'm sure Herzlich will be truly grateful for what the Hokie Nation will present to him.
If you're going to be in Blacksburg for the game, they are selling the wristbands at all of the local bookstores. The Virginia Tech scout team will also be walking around selling the wristbands prior to kickoff.