He may have lost a season of collegiate football, but Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich didn't miss a beat off the field. He has been rewarded with the Disney Spirit Award, given annually by Disney Sports to college football?s most inspirational figure.
?The Disney Spirit Award is an award that means more to me than any award based on statistics and on-the-field achievements,? Herzlich said. ?I have had to battle a deadly rare disease this past year and, along with beating the disease, I was fortunate to be able to help others along the way. To be recognized with this award is an honor, and I hope that it shows people around the world that there is hope and that it will encourage them to continue to battle.?
Herzlich recently overcame a rare form of bone cancer called and helped
inspire more than $120,000 in donations for cancer-related causes.
In 2008, Herzlich emerged as one of the top linebackers in the country, earning All-America honors and being named the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year. After he passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft as a junior, his football career landed in jeopardy in May when he was diagnosed with Ewing?s sarcoma, a malignant tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue. A week after his diagnosis, Herzlich began treatment to ward off the cancer in his leg.
Following Herzlich?s diagnosis, support poured in from both the Boston College community and around the country. His Eagles teammates created their own chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national organization that works with college football players to fund rare disease research. BC held a Lift for Life event, which raised $31,500. Additionally, Boston College initiated a ?Beat Cancer? campaign and sold gold T-shirts to honor Herzlich.
Herzlich will be presented with the award during The Home Depot ESPNU
College Football Awards at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, Dec.
10. The 19th annual awards show is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. ET and will
be televised live on ESPN.
The Disney Spirit Award is presented annually to college football?s most inspirational figure, with Herzlich becoming the 14th recipient. Last year, Florida's Tim Tebow received the award.