USC Football

Jake Olson to participate in USC's March 20 Pro Day

March 7, 2019


LOS ANGELES--Jake Olson, USC’s blind long snapper, will participate in the bench press portion of the Trojans’ Pro Day on March 20 and, based on the number of times he is able to lift the bar, he will raise funds to help cure the retinoblastoma cancer that took his eyesight.

With Olson’s every repetition of the bench press, fans can pledge an amount that will go to Olson’s longtime charity, Out of Sight Faith, and to the Uplifting Athletes organization.  Those funds will support a clinical trial of a device that is implanted in a retinoblastoma patient’s eye to directly deliver chemotherapy to tumors in the eye.  Early trial results have been promising in the treatment and cure of the disease.

Fan can go to where they can pledge an amount per rep that Olson bench presses.

“The hope and belief is that the device will eventually be the standard for treating retinoblastoma,” said Olson.  “Last year, two children were completely cured through the use of this device.  I am raising money so that no child has to lose their sight again to the cancer that took mine.  I plan to ‘rep it out for retinoblastoma’ on Pro Day and help cure this disease for good.”

Over the past 20 years, Olson’s childhood doctor, Dr. Linn Murphree, and his partner, Dr. Brenda Gallie, along with David Carpi at 3T Ophthalmics, have worked on a device that has the ability to cure even the most severe cases of retinoblastoma, such as Olson’s.

Olson has been an inspiration to and involved with the USC football program since the age of 12 when he lost his eyesight to cancer.  He was born with retinoblastoma, an aggressive and rare, fast-moving cancer of the retina.  He lost his left eye when he was 10 months old and, despite numerous procedures on his other eye, he had his right eye removed when he was 12 (he spent the day before his 2009 surgery at a USC football practice).  

After long snapping in high school (he also played golf), Olson received a scholarship in 2015 to attend USC from Swim With Mike’s Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund.  In the Trojans’ 2017 season opener against Western Michigan, he got into the game to snap the final PAT and did so again that mid-season against Oregon State and in the 2018 opener against UNLV.  He was guided onto the field and positioned over the ball by a teammate.  

Olson, who is led around campus by his guide dog, Quebec, is graduating from USC this May with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.  He is a motivational speaker, has co-authored 2 books about overcoming adversity and has started his own company, Engage, a web-based booking platform.

“No child should face the harsh reality of never seeing again,” said Olson.  “Despite the accomplishments in my life and the valuable lessons I’ve learned, I still remember the pain, sorrow and agony that I endured as a child battling retinoblastoma. For this reason, I am determined to cure the disease that took my eyesight and I could not have chosen a more opportune time.”


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Jake Olson to participate in USC's March 20 Pro Day

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