Jake Olson was born with a rare form of cancer of the retina, retinoblastoma, which destroys the ability to see. When he was 10 months old, it took the sight from his left eye. Then when he was 12 years old, he lost sight in his right eye.
"You have a choice with cancer," Olson says. "You can let it change who you are, or you can go out and attack life."
Long before he captured the world—yes, the world—this weekend on social media by becoming the sport's first blind long snapper during USC's victory over Western Michigan...Jake Olson was doing things that make snapping a football in a college seem, well, routine...
...Like setting up a business with his college roommate, Daniel Hennes (St. Anne's Class of 2011), that received special dispensation from the NCAA and allowed Olson to make money as a motivational speaker and play college football...
"Nothing bothers him. Absolutely nothing," Hennes says.
Hennes knew as much from the day he and Olson met...It didn't take long for Olson and Hennes to form a unique bond...two years ago Olson asked Hennes to be his business manager, and their first speaking engagement together was in San Diego. Allergan, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, asked Olson to come speak to 900 employees.
"Wasn't a dry eye in the place," Hennes says. "I was crying, too."