LOS ANGELES -- Jake Olson, a blind long-snapper at USC, participated in the Trojans' pro day on Wednesday to raise funds and awareness for retinoblastoma, a rare cancer which claimed his eyesight when he was 12 years old.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Olson put up 17 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press, as family, teammates and coaches cheered him on.
"I love lifting, I love just getting out there in the weight room," Olson said. "It's the best way, in my opinion, to fund raise. Life kind of presented its opportunity to fund raise for something."
As of Wednesday morning, Olson had received more than $47,000 in pledges that will be donated to his charity, Out of Sight Faith, as well as to the Uplifting Athletes Organization. The donations will contribute to a clinical trial that has delivered promising results in the fight against retinoblastoma.
"I live with the consequences of my disease every day," Olson said. "To hear that there is a workable cure now that could prohibit any kid from ever losing their sight again to my cancer, it really impacts me."
Olson, 21, was born with retinoblastoma and lost his left eye when he 10 months old. At age 12, his right eye was removed. The day before surgery, his final day with vision, Olson visited the USC football team.
After joining the Orange Luther High football team as a long-snapper, Olson walked on at USC and appeared in three games, with the help of teammates who guided him onto the field to snap the ball.
Olson will graduate in May with a degree in business administration. Along with several business ventures, he said his next goal is to return to competitive golf, which he played in high school, and become the best blind golfer, ever.
Olson also plans to continue to raise funds and awareness for a cure of retinoblastoma.
"If I can make sure that no other kid has to be in my situation, I'll go to the world's end to make sure that's a reality for them," Olson said.