Huskers Burkhead Finalist for Rare Disease Champion Award

Click HERE to vote for Rex Burkhead!

Most Husker fans know Rex Burkhead for his strong running game on the football field.

But he's also helping to champion an important cause off the field.

It's about raising awareness for Pediatric Brain Cancer. And Rex needs your help.

Rex is one of four college football players in the country who's a finalist for uplifting athletes rare disease champion award.

It's all because of a special relationship with a six-year-old from Atkinson, Nebraska.

Jack Hoffman calls it his stud mark.

And after two brain surgeries to remove a pediatric brain cancer tumor, the kindergartner has earned it.

Before Jack's second surgery in October 2011 in Boston, he got to meet his favorite Husker Rex Burkhead. And ever since the two have developed a special relationship.

Jack says, "I got to eat lunch with him. I got to race with him."

Rex says, "He came up here to the stadium, I showed him around, and I think what was so impressive, was his positive attitude and the smile on his face, just his positiveness for what he was going through, was what really sparked our relationship and has kept it going since."

Every day Rex wears a "Team Jack" bracelet to show his support. He's even recruited some of his fellow Husker teammates to wear them as well. And Rex says Jack knows who wears them, especially during games.

Through all of this, Rex is raising awareness for pediatric brain cancer and Uplifting Athletes has named him a finalist for the Rare Disease Champion.

Rex says, "Anything to help out Jack and anyone else with his situation would be awesome, just to get that recognition out there. Anything to help the research and the funding for the program in general."

Andy Hoffman, Jack's dad, says, "I think we can rally behind this, it's the number one solid tumor cause of death in children. Researchers think that despite the lack of funding a cure is within reach."

Andy adds in order to be nominated for the Rare Disease Champion a football player must meet one of three qualifications--either have or survived a rare disease, uplift someone who has a rare disease and/or raise money and awareness about a rare disease.

He says Rex exceeded the the qualifications by meeting two of the criteria.

Jack is one of 3,000 to 4,000 kids who suffer from pediatric brain cancer. While Pediatric Brain Cancer is rare, Andy says Jack has the most common form of tumor. But Team Jack still needs help from Husker fans to vote Rex to a title.

Rex says, "They're support for us is always outstanding, every time a Husker player is up for an award or up for something, Husker nation always puts in a good word."

Brianna Hoffman, Jack's mom says, "We know Husker fans are great, they're really going to get out there and voting for him and we're thankful to raise awareness."

Brianna and Andy say Jack is doing well since his surgery in October. They say he's not cancer free, but everything is going well. He gets regular check-ups and MRI's every three months and so far so good.

The Hoffman's say they're just thankful for all the support from Husker fans, the University of Nebraska and from Rex.

Online voting for the Rare Disease Champion ends on February 26th.

And you can only vote one time per email address

To learn more about the other candidates and vote for Rex you can click on the link below.


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