Illini make a difference with annual Lift for Life

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) -- Year seven for Illinois Football's Life for Life and like every other year, it was a success. Fun costumes, good weather, and the oh-so-hated wooden sled.

"I can tell you what I didn't enjoy," sophomore Ricky Smalling said. "The sleds."

"I'm dying every time I do that," safety Bennett Williams added. "That's the one I dred the most."

But all the pain in reps was worth it, as the Illini took to Memorial Stadium to raise money for rare diseases.

"It's little bit of a workout for us. Not everything is easy, but we get after it, raise some money. It's great to give back," running back Mike Epstein said.

"This is a great event every year," Williams added. "It's a workout on a Sunday, but getting to raise money for kids with rare disease, it's a great cause."

And the team reaps the benefits, too. For players who have spent the off-season rehabbing, it's a chance to get back into the team environment.

"Boese did a great job with us this winter," Smalling said. "As we say, body by Boese. He does a great job."

For the upper classmen, it's also a chance to welcome the newcomers.

"It's the first chance you really get to interact with those kids and work with them. We've run with them before but it's different out here," senior lineman Nick Allegretti said. "You get to talk a little bit more. It's a little more laid back. So, that's fun."

The final numbers haven't been calculated yet, organizer Nick Allegretti said he hopes to break last year's record of  $40,000. If you want to donate you still can, at this link --> 

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