Brandon Sorensen was the model student-athlete.
The All-American kid who grew up in Iowa wanting to wrestle for his beloved Iowa Hawkeyes.
He came to the University of Iowa as a top-flight recruit and thrived in one of the best wrestling programs in the country.
He worked hard, bought into what his coaches were saying, became an excellent teammate, never got in trouble and had a superb career for the Hawkeyes.
Sorensen was an NCAA finalist and reached the All-American podium all four seasons he wrestled varsity for Iowa.
He has gone on to compete internationally as a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.
Less than two years after Sorensen’s college career ended in March 2018, sobering news quickly swept across the wrestling landscape on Tuesday afternoon.
Sorensen has been diagnosed with leukemia. He’s started treatments at the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.
Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement about Sorensen’s condition, the support started rolling in from every corner of the country.
Sorensen’s family established a Go Fund Me page to help pay for Brandon’s medical expenses.
The family’s goal was set at raising $30,000, but that number was quickly eclipsed with an incredible outpouring of support from the wrestling community and beyond.
Within the first several hours, more than 30k had been raised.
A quick scroll through the names of contributors is impressive. Olympic gold medalist Kendall Cross. Olympic silver medalist Jamill Kelly. NCAA champions Chuck Yagla, Jon Reader and Angel Escobedo.
You also had numerous names of athletes and former athletes from rival schools who provided support.
There were plenty of other names we didn’t recognize that should be praised for the enormous amount of support that poured in. And it also was great to see a large number of anonymous donors who chose to contribute.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sorensen’s Go Fund Me page had raised more than $65,000 with an impressive 1,000-plus donations made.
Those are incredible numbers. But that shows you what kind of person Brandon Sorensen is. And speaks volumes about the bond that is shared by people in wrestling.
As many of us know, competition in wrestling is intense and not everyone always gets along in a grueling, challenging sport.
But when someone in the sport needs help, people in this sport are quick to respond and offer assistance. No sport is better at taking care of their own than wrestling.
We saw that first-hand when wrestling was nearly kicked out of the Olympics in 2013. People did whatever they could to prevent that from happening – and it paid off when the sport stayed in the Olympics.
We recently saw the high level of support when beloved wrestling coach Mike Duroe was battling brain cancer.
Now we are seeing that compassion and generosity again in this situation where the wrestling community has rallied together to help one of their own.
I made a small contribution to the Sorensen Go Fund Me page on Tuesday afternoon. And it’s gratifying to see that so many others did the same thing. Any little bit can make a difference.
As those close to him know, Brandon Sorensen is a fighter.
And he is going to fight like hell to beat this.
The wrestling community and beyond is behind him 100 percent. There is no question about that.
My thoughts and prayers are with Brandon and his family.