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Family, Penn State, working together to remember former player

Reported By: Gary Sinderson
Written By: Marc Stempka

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Family and friends of a former Penn State University football player are joining with the school to honor his life and give back to the community after he lost his battle with cancer a few months ago.

Brandon Ream, a Centre County native, died following a long battle with cancer in November. In his memory, friends and family established the Team Ream Foundation, with its goal being to help financially disadvantaged families in State College and the surrounding areas who've been affected by serious medical conditions.

A special fundraiser will take place Sunday at the Penn State men's basketball game with all proceeds going to the Team Ream Foundation. All money raised will stay in the Centre region.

Brandon played several sports growing up, graduated from State College Area High School in 2002, and was able to walk on to the Penn State football team.

"It was amazing that he had the opportunity to walk on and play for Penn State," Brandon's sister, Lindsay Whitton, said. "I know he was very excited to be a part of the Penn State football team."

Brandon was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2011. What started as just leg pain turned into something worse. He and his wife, Samantha, started keeping a video blog of his treatment.

"He was always very positive from day one," Samantha said. "I think that's where people drew that inspiration. So if he was talking to people on the phone, he was always asking how they were. He was more concerned about what was going on at home than what was going on in his life."

Brandons family said he always stayed positive, despite his diagnosis.

"He was just so positive and you know, he just, anything that was thrown at him, he was like, 'I got this, I got this,'" Whitton said.

Activities as Sunday's game include a pregame autograph session with Penn State athletes and other athletes from other sports.

Friends of the Ream family have agreed to match what is raised during the game, up to $30,000.

"[The funds are] going to be [for] anybody that might not have the support that Brandon and I had and how lucky we were to have two really great families that were able to support us," Samantha said.

Samantha said it's an honor for the foundation to be able to remember Brandon and cheer on Penn State basketball while giving back to the people of Centre County.

The game starts at noon against Wisconsin.

To make a donation to Team Ream, click here.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times