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OL Dillan Gibbons named to Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team

One of six players recognized nationally.

Florida State v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Florida State offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons was named to the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team on Monday along with five other players from around college football.

The award is recognized by the NCFAA and was given out to leaders who have made a positive and lasting impact in the rare disease community.

In 2021, Gibbons turned a close friendship with Timothy Donovan, who suffers from multiple debilitating diseases, into a movement with the arrival of Name, Image and Likeness compensation. First raising money to bring Timmy to Tallahassee for the season opener vs. Notre Dame, he partnered with GoFundMe to create “Big Man, Big Heart,” which helped sponsor and promote missions from other student-athletes to help those in need.

The full press release, via

Gibbons was recognized for his relationship with Timothy Donovan, who was born with VACTERL, a disorder that impacts multiple body systems, and also was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a disease that causes nerve damage in the arms and legs.

The pair developed a close relationship after meeting following a Notre Dame game in South Bend during Gibbons’ freshman season when Gibbons gave Donovan his gloves from the game. Donovan and his family attended multiple FSU games this season after Gibbons transferred from Notre Dame for his final two seasons of eligibility.

This season, Gibbons started 11 games at left guard and earned honorable-mention All-ACC recognition. He was a consistent presence on an offensive line that had eight different starting combinations in 12 games, helping the Seminoles top 200 yards rushing in six games and produce a 100-yard rusher seven times.

Gibbons was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, FSU’s first since 2016, following Florida State’s 35-25 win at North Carolina. In that game, Gibbons played all 54 offensive snaps as the offensive line did not allow a sack for the first time since 2019 and blocked as FSU totaled 238 rushing yards while quarterback Jordan Travis became the first player in program history with three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the same game.

For more than a dozen years, Uplifting Athletes has celebrated leaders in college football that have made a positive and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community through its Rare Disease Champion initiative.

Each member of the 2021 Rare Disease Champion Team will be honored and celebrated during the Uplifting Athletes Young Investigator Draft on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2020, at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

The Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Team is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA, founded in 1997, consists of 25 awards and includes the most prestigious awards in college football.