MADISON (WKOW) -- The Badger football team always walks in to the weight room with motivation in mind. Some days they lift while envisioning the season opener or another Big Ten title. On this day, however, the motivation was a local 14-year-old boy.
Darien Moran met several of the Badger players a few months ago. He made an instant impact with his tale of perseverance. Moran lost both of his parents at the age of five. In recent years, he's been battling a rare auto-immune disease called Lagerhans Cell Histiocytosis X. Linebacker Chris Borland could not believe how upbeat Moran remained despite his many struggles.
"I think he's been an inspiration. Darien's a big football fan. He's a big Badgers fan. So, just to be around him, the energy he has is just inspiring to all of us."
So much so that Borland and others decided they wanted to do something for Moran. They organized a 'Lift for Life.' The football team lifted all day in an effort to raise awareness and money for research to find a cure for Darien's disease.
Meanwhile, there was a miniature strength coach counting out repetitions. Moran has had to do his own heavy lifting recently. He is currently taking chemotherapy treatments three straight days every 28 days.
Yet, that was not where Moran's mind was on this afternoon. For one day, he was not a patient. He was a member of the Badgers football program.
"There's not another kid who will be as happy as me, probably, after today."